Evinayong (Agenzia Fides) - The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, spent the day, Sunday 21 May in the new diocese of Evinayong, created on 1 April (see Fides 1/4/2017; 17/5/2017). In the morning, he presided over the Holy Mass in the Cathedral, with the first Bishop, ordained the previous day in Mongomo, His Exc. Mgr. Callixto-Paulino, and in the afternoon he met with the clergy, religious men and women in the new diocese.
In his homily, the Prefect recalled the Church's duty of evangelizing: "Preaching Christ is the mission of the Church, from which no one is excluded, because preaching Jesus is a compulsory commitment for all the baptized". He then recalled that in 1645 the Cappuccini arrived in today’s Equatorial Guinea, followed by other missionaries, the diocesan Priests of Toledo, the Jesuits, and especially the Claretians: all "preached Christ here, and were his faithful witnesses ... laying the foundations of the Church among you". Today, a new chapter of the Church in Equatorial Guinea opens with this new diocese. "The Catholic Church in Equatorial Guinea, like every family, expects a generous development and spiritual enrichment, and a new evangelizing momentum from the new Diocese in Evinayong", he emphasized, assuring that "the new Diocese will not be left alone because the Lord Jesus, guarantees us his constant presence".
Addressing all the members of the new diocese, Cardinal Filoni said: "It is entrusted to your care, it depends on you as a newborn depends on his mother and father's care. As a small seed, your new Diocese is entrusted to you since you are competent farmers ... In the past others sowed and planted the word of God, now it is up to you to water the field, allowing the good to sprout and grow. So, as members of this Church, you will contribute to the growth of this plant that is your Diocese in Evinayong. Do not sow discord in this field of the Lord, do not sow confusion, hatred or jealousy; do not gossip".
The Prefect also recommended: "You are called to be good builders of this new Church. Therefore build on Christ, the unshakable foundation. Bring to the construction of this Church the preciousness of fraternal charity, communion and unity; use such precious stones as forgiveness, solidarity, truth, and justice. Do not generate discord, or personal interest, and the sin of lies. In this work of building your Diocese, you must all be God's collaborators".
Commenting on the evangelical passage of the day, in which the words of Jesus resound "If you love me, you will observe my commandments", the Cardinal pointed out that "the secret of all things is the love for Christ. Our Christian and ecclesial mission comes from a profound act of love, otherwise it is reduced to just social activity. Every apostolic commitment, every missionary activity, every service in the Church has its origin in the love for Christ".
In the afternoon Cardinal Filoni met the clergy, religious men and women, to whom he recalled: "the great challenge to start the new Diocese, to put in place the structures necessary for the pastoral and administrative organization, as well as the development of missionary activity is up to you". Therefore he encouraged them how to face the new challenges: the involvement of all, as the first collaborators of the bishop, to start and bring forth the diocese; the call to "faithfully and joyfully" live priestly and religious identity; the announcement and the good testimony of life at a spiritual, moral and pastoral level; the need to have the heart of Jesus, "that is to say to love as Jesus loves, to think as Jesus thinks, to act as Jesus acts, to serve as Jesus serves in all moments of life".
"In order to always be alive in the priestly and religious life, it is important to always care for your permanent formation", said the Cardinal, who concluded by thanking priests and religious "for the zeal and for the tireless commitment that they bring to evangelization", and exhorted them with these words: "Let's go ahead, animated by the common love for the Lord and the Holy Mother Church. Let us remain united in prayer. Remember: It will depend on you if you want to build a church in Evinayong according to Christ's Heart". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 22/5/2017)