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Mission work is essence of the Church, Pope says

Catholic World News - November 18, 2013

Missionary outreach is “the paradigm of all pastoral action,” Pope Francis said in a video message to participants in a pilgrimage organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and other groups.

In his message the Pope relied heavily on the message from the Latin American bishops’ meeting in Aparecida, which advised looking about the Church as being in “a permanent state of mission.” That mission, he added, should “reach everyone, without excluding anyone.”

“This does not mean going forth like one who imposes a new obligation, who limits himself to reproaching or complaining about that which he considers imperfect or insufficient,” the Holy Father said. Genuine evengelization, he said, “requires a lot of patience.”

The bishop is the leader of his people in the work of evangelization, the Pope said. “The attitude of the true shepherd is not that of a courtier or of a mere functionary,” but of a pastor dedicated to spreading the Gospel message. His priests must fully share in that mission, he added. The Pope also saw a special role for those in religious life, saying that they furnish “a leaven which enables the Church to grow towards the final manifestation of Jesus Christ.”

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