Pope Francis inspires Catholic evangelists from England and Wales at unique gathering in Rome

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Around 70 Catholic evangelists from England and Wales were present at a meeting with Pope Francis last week to receive practical wisdom about how to share effectively the Catholic Faith.

Speaking at the International Meeting on the Pastoral Project of Evangelii Gaudium in The Vatican, 18 – 20 September, Pope Francis, said of his Apostolic Exhortation:

“…it is about the main mission of the Church, that of evangelising! There are moments when mission becomes urgent and our response to it needs to be revived… How many people are tired and exhausted? How can we share with them the love of God?”

He added:

“There are many possibilities for us to recognise God’s presence in today’s world… All those engaged in pastoral care are called to read the signs of the times… Jesus spent the whole day looking for workers in the vineyard. Those in pastoral work go out and look for those in need, in search of the Lord.”

Pope Francis ended: “…patience and perseverance. We don’t have a magic wand but we do have the Lord who accompanies us and never abandons us. Bearing witness is the beginning of evangelisation and is what touches the heart and transforms it.”

The Pope was addressing around 2,000 delegates from across the world which included representatives from English and Welsh Dioceses. Bishop Mark O’Toole, Plymouth, Bishop Robert Byrne, Birmingham, and Bishop Seamus Cunningham, Hexham and Newcastle, were present.

Bishop Cunningham said:

“The content of Evangelii Gaudium, the personal witness of Pope Francis and of all those that we have met at this extraordinary meeting, inspire and compel us to be ever more bold and creative in our evangelistic efforts. We return home renewed in our response to the invitation to share our faith and determined to use new means and methods of evangelisation to reach out to people.”

The Meeting was organised by the Pontifical Council for the Promoting of the New Evangelisation and included a testimony from Jean Vanier who founded L’Arche, and Faith & Light, communities which offer help to people with intellectual disabilities. The aim of the gathering, which brought together people from 60 countries including pastoral workers, priests, deacons, religious, and lay people, was to reflect upon the central themes of Evangelii Gaudium.

John Paul Lyttle from Portsmouth Diocese:

“It’s been amazing to be praying with and receiving inspirational teaching from the Holy Father and all the contributors. This Meeting has re-charged my batteries and deepened my understanding of my baptismal calling.”

The delegation from England and Wales was coordinated by the Bishops’ Conference Home Mission Desk, as an instrument of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis which is chaired by Bishop Kieran Conry.

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The international meeting “The Pastoral Project of ‘Evangelii gaudium’”, organised by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, will be held in the Vatican from 18 to 20 September and will be attended by more than two thousand pastoral workers from seventy countries worldwide.

Pontifical Council for the Promoting of the New Evangelisation
Official website