Spain, Poland” “

Spain/1: lay people, evangelization and society “Lay Christians, Church in the world” was the theme of the Days of diocesan delegates and national presidents of the Apostolate of the Laity that took place a few days ago in Madrid. Monsignor Javier Salinas, bishop of Mallorca, president of the Episcopal Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity (CEAS), has invited to “live the present time as a novelty, overcoming the spirit of defeat that tends to engrain our Christian life. Pastoral commitment should be lived as a gift and as a novelty, without closing our eyes before the work that is being accomplished in each delegation or association”. During the Days was also celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the “Apostolicam actuositatem” decree of the Second Vatican Council. “We should learn to see with the merciful eyes of God – states a declaration released at the end of the meeting -. We must learn to see our strengths and our weaknesses, but we need to see them together, in order to provide a good service to the Church. Our associations and delegations are tasked with carrying out this commitment, not as mere structures or organizations but as people who want to live their faith in the responsibility of the mission entrusted to them”. Monsignor Antonio Cartagena, director of the Commission for the Apostolate of Lay People of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, provided an overall picture of the Apostolate of the Laity over the past decades, highlighting the coordination work among the associations carried out so far. The program of the Days envisaged also sessions dedicated to working groups, during which participants answered questions on how to develop greater ecclesial communion between associations and delegations or which concrete activities should be promoted for an efficient coordination of the missionary and evangelizing commitment. The answers highlighted a growing interest to bring the Gospel in all corners of society, starting from the parishes. Spain/2: on the footsteps of “Evangelii gaudium” Monsignor Francisco Pérez, archbishop of Pamplona, bishop of Tudela, Monsignor Mario Iceta, bishop of Bilbao; Monsignor José Ignacio Munilla, bishop of San Sebastián; Monsignor Miguel Asurmendi, bishop of Vitoria, and Monsignor Juan Antonio Aznárez, auxiliary bishop of Pamplona and Tudela, wrote a joint pastoral letter for the time of Lent and Easter titled “Profound Mercy”. The letter begins with reference to the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis “Evangelii gaudium”. “Our local churches have welcomed this document with enthusiasm. We are now working on its reception, reflection and implementation”, the bishops said. The letter is divided into four chapters. In the first, the prelates present mercy as a specific feature of God: “We can perceive the deepness of the mercy of the Biblical tradition as an expression of love, goodness, faithfulness, tenderness, patience and forgiveness of God”. The second chapter explains that a pastoral conversion is needed first of all, with a personal encounter with Christ, and then with an ecclesial, pastoral, and missionary conversion, in which is involved the whole Church, to be faithful to her vocation and mission. In the third chapter the bishops refer to some areas where the mercy of God “must be proclaimed and shared”: social coexistence, the family, the poor, the marginalized, suffering and diseases. In the last chapter the prelates highlight the importance of Christian initiation and the transmission of faith across Christian families and communities. Poland: Warsaw, Lenten prayer in 40 churches Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, along with the archbishop of the diocese of Warsaw Monsignor Henryk Hoser, on the occasion of Lent invite the faithful to rediscover the ancient tradition praying in 40 Lenten station churches in the city. Prayers began on Ash Wednesday with a liturgy celebrated in the church of San Salvatore in the centre of Warsaw, where in August 1946 was officiated the memorial service with six tons of ashes of those killed by the Nazis taken from the crematoria ovens of the Reich. For the entire Lenten period one of station churches in turn will be opened from 6 am to 9 pm, and during the entire day, in addition to the traditional liturgical celebrations, will be officiated the rites of Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, will be recited Angelus e Rosary, the Via Crucis and the penitential liturgy. The promoters said they hope the initiative “may represent a communitarian experience” as well as “a concrete sign of faith of the inhabitants of the city”. The initiative will end on Palm Sunday. “We hope the practice of recitation of prayers in station churches will develop in time and involve ever increasing numbers of faithful”, said the prelates, who wished participants a period of fruitful Easter preparation”.

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