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Show the evangelical zeal of the early Church, Pope urges faithful

Catholic World News - January 25, 2012

The Church today must “retrieve the apostolic zeal of the early Christian communities,” Pope Benedict XVI proclaims in his message for World Mission Sunday.

The Church will observe World Mission Sunday on October 21. The Pope’s message for the occasion, entitled “Called to Radiate the Word of Truth,” was released by the Vatican on January 25.

The early Christian communities, the Pope writes, although “small and defenseless, were nonetheless capable, through announcement and witness, of spreading the Gospel throughout the then-known world.” The Pope says that today’s Church must show the same initiative.

The Second Vatican Council called new attention to the duty of every Christian to participate in the work of evangelization, the Pope says. An important part of the Council’s legacy lies in “placing the missionary nature of the Church at the centre of ecclesiology.”

During the coming year, the Pope continues, the central role of evangelization will be underlined by opening of the Year of Faith on October 11, and by the Synod of Bishops, which will meet in October to discuss the “new evangelization.” The Pope’s message pays special attention to the new evangelization, stressing the need to revive the active faith in societies where secularization has taken hold. "One of the obstacles to evangelization,” the Pope writes, “is in fact the crisis of faith, not only in the Western world but among a large part of humankind.” Pope Benedict encourages the faithful to be alert for every opportunity to advance the Gospel message. He writes: "The immense horizons of the Church's mission and the complexity of today's situation call for new ways of effectively communicating the word of God.”

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