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Pope Francis: to parish Cells of Evangelisation, “reviving the life of our parish communities”

“Reviving, especially in this period, the life of our parish communities”. Pope Francis entrusted this mission to the adherents to the Service for Parish Cells of Evangelisation, received in audience today on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of their foundation. “Our parishes are invaded by many initiatives, where often, however, the life of the people is not deeply affected”, Pope Francis warned, inviting the Cells to help parishes to be, “above all, a place to listen to the Word of God and celebrate the mystery of His death and resurrection”: “Only from here can one expect the work of evangelisation to become effective and fecund, capable of bearing fruit”, the Pope remarked. “Unfortunately, for many reasons, many have moved away from our parishes”, he argued: “It is urgent, therefore, that we recover the need for encounter so as to reach the people where they live and work. If we have encountered Christ in our lives, then we cannot keep Him only for ourselves. It is crucial that we share this experience with others as well; this is the main road of evangelisation”. “Every time you meet someone, you play out a real story that can change a person’s life”, Pope Francis remarked: “It has always been like that”. “And this is not proselytizing, it is bearing witness”, he added off the cuff. “May your proclamation become a witness of mercy, with which to make it clear that every attention given to one of the least is given to Jesus Himself, Who identifies with them”, Pope Francis said. Then, praising the “multiplication of Cells, which are now present in many parts of the world”, he said: “Never tire of following the paths that the Spirit of the Risen Lord sets before you. Do not be afraid of the new, and do not let your pace be slowed by the difficulties that are inevitable on the path of evangelisation. When you are a missionary disciple, then enthusiasm must never be lacking!”. The Holy Father began his speech with some off-the-cuff remarks, thanking Don Piergiorgio Perini for his “65 years of priesthood and 90 of age”: “I asked him for the recipe: what does he do to be like this?”, Pope Francis joked.

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