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Pope, in message to US bishops, stresses culture of encounter

November 16, 2016

In a video message to US bishops meeting in Baltimore, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of a culture of encounter.

Referring to the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, which will take place in 2018, the Pope said that “the Encuentro seeks to acknowledge and value the specific gifts that Hispanic Catholics have offered, and continue to offer, to the Church in your country.”

“But it is more than that,” he added. “It is part of a greater process of renewal and missionary outreach, one to which all of your local Churches are called.”

“Our great challenge is to create a culture of encounter, which encourages individuals and groups to share the richness of their traditions and experiences, to break down walls and to build bridges,” Pope Francis continued. “The Church in America, as elsewhere, is called to ‘go out’ from its comfort zone and to be a leaven of communion. Communion among ourselves, with our fellow Christians, and with all who seek a future of hope.”

The Pope added:

We need to become ever more fully a community of missionary disciples, filled with love of the Lord Jesus and enthusiasm for the spread of the Gospel. The Christian community is meant to be a sign and prophecy of God’s plan for the entire human family. We are called to be bearers of good news for a society gripped by disconcerting social, cultural and spiritual shifts, and increasing polarization.

 
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