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Be ambassadors of Christ, Pope tells priests and religious

January 16, 2015

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Manila’s cathedral on January 16 and called upon the bishops, priests, seminarians, and religious who were present to be ambassadors of Christ.

“All pastoral ministry is born of love,” he said. “All consecrated life is a sign of Christ’s reconciling love. Like Saint Thérèse, in the variety of our vocations, each of us is called, in some way, to be love in the heart of the Church.”

Expressing gratitude for the missionaries who brought the Gospel to the Philippines, the Pope said that “to be an ambassador for Christ means above all to invite everyone to a renewed personal encounter with the Lord Jesus.”

“But the Gospel is also a summons to conversion, to an examination of our consciences, as individuals and as a people,” he added as he called for attention to the poor, the abandonment of materialism and “spiritual worldliness,” and “a daily encounter with the Lord in prayer.”

He added:

Only by becoming poor ourselves, by stripping away our complacency, will we be able to identify with the least of our brothers and sisters. We will see things in a new light and thus respond with honesty and integrity to the challenge of proclaiming the radicalism of the Gospel in a society which has grown comfortable with social exclusion, polarization and scandalous inequality …

Proclaim the beauty and truth of the Christian message to a society which is tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage, and the family. As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture.

Following the Mass, the Pontiff made an unscheduled 30-minute visit at a center for street children.

 
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