Papal nuncio urges U.S. bishops to remain faithful to the mission of the Church

BALTIMORE – In his Nov. 15 address to the U.S. bishops at their annual fall assembly in Baltimore, papal nuncio Bishop Christophe Pierre stressed the need to remain focused on the missionary role of the church to spread the message of the Gospel.

This is particularly important “as we live in a time of accelerated change”, he said.

The archbishop said one way to determine if the church is fulfilling its missionary role is to look at how local churches function as communities of evangelization, which he says is particularly evident in the current eucharistic renewal in the United States. United States.

The nuncio also reminded bishops of the need for the church to reflect the image of a field hospital, a description used by Pope Francis who said the church should be dedicated to the work of healing those who are wounded. The Archbishop said the church lives this work in its outreach to immigrants and young mothers as part of the “Walking with Mums in Need” initiative.

He said Pope Francis calls on the Catholic Church to be “a missionary church that encourages everyone to be an evangelist.” A key part of this work is to encourage the lay Catholic faithful to “accept the responsibility of the church”, the nuncio said.

For this to happen, he noted that the spiritual and liturgical formation of the laity cannot be ignored.

“If we accompany our people more closely, we can more easily trust them and encourage their spiritual growth,” he said. He also asked bishops how they “promote this ordinary holiness in our local churches” and whether there are enough spiritual resources for priests and laity in their dioceses.

Archbishop Pierre also noted that the recent synod report makes it clear that many young people in the Church are having difficulty accepting the teachings of the Church on a variety of issues. In response to this, bishops must articulate the faith clearly, he said, but they must also “accompany them on the journey so that they live their faith in a way that offers them peace of heart, in experiencing the true, the good and the beautiful”. .”

He also urged the bishops not to be “paralyzed by the challenges we face” but rather to confidently follow their path forward in a synodal way that involves listening, patience and respectful dialogue at the middle of a culture that lives so many things. division.

“We can sometimes lock ourselves into crisis thinking and crisis talk,” he said, but he also noted that if you look at church history, times of crisis can “ allow us to discern the presence of the Lord and refocus on the mission and where we are going together.

He urged bishops to approach these difficult times in a way that would ultimately lead them to give a “faithful answer” to the question, “’Where are we?’ And more importantly, to the question: “Where are we going?”

Charles K. Eckert