Friday, 3 October 2003

Vatican City (Fides Service) – “You are called to participate combining a life of special dedication to God with missionary activity, following the example of our Saviour Jesus Christ preaching the divine word to the poor...To fulfil this special missionary service, first of all you must cultivate personal and community prayer”. Pope John Paul II said to Redemptorist Fathers during a private audience on Friday 3 October in the Vatican.
He told the participants at the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorists, led by the Superior General: “People who meet you must feel that you are and coming in contact with you they must experience the love of the merciful Father in heaven, who did not hesitate to give his only Son to save humanity. They must see in you the interior attitude of Jesus Good Shepherd, always in search of the lost sheep, and ready to celebrate when he finds it”.
The Institution’s situation examined by the General Chapter, shows in some parts of the world “encouraging revival, while elsewhere it shows signs of fatigue and crisis. If for example in some countries vocations flourish, in others they are scarce to such a concerning extent that the future of your presence in those regions is in doubt”. The Pope warned the Redemptorists not to “conform yourselves to life styles culturally dominating today” or restrict themselves to “forms of pastoral which fail to give adequate responses to the need for redemption of the men and women of today”: this would lead to the weakening of the Institute’s religious spirit and evangelising impulse. “How opportune is therefore the discernment which, watching prophetically the signs of the times, you intend to actuate in the light of the Word of God!…Let yourselves be guided by the Spirit of the Lord crucified and risen. I repeat here to you, what I wrote for all the people of God in the apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte: “Let us go forward in hope! A new millennium is opening before the Church like a vast ocean upon which we shall venture, relying on the help of Christ. The Son of God, who became incarnate two thousand years ago out of love for humanity, is at work even today: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of his work” (NMI 58) Go forward in hope!”
SL (Fides Service 3/10/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 382)