Thank you for your presence, thank you for having accepted to send these families on mission.
We greet Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the Archbishops and Bishops present, and also the members of the Dicastery “Laity, Family and Life”, who have agreed to share this event with us.
Holy Father, before we begin, we would like to share with you some news that we know will make you happy: the Archdiocese of Madrid has informed us that the cause for the beatification and canonization of Carmen Hernández will soon be officially opened. Let’s give Carmen a round of applause!
First of all, I would like to introduce the families on mission in Ukraine who, at the beginning of the war, with great suffering, had to leave the country, but who are eager to return, because of a miracle of God’s grace. They say: “How can we not return when we have left so many brothers and sisters there, so many people who need us? Stand up, families who are in Ukraine.
We now present the missionary families:
Please stand up, families on mission in the nations I will now name: Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Moldova. A round of applause for all those going to Europe.
We now present the families who are going to Asia: Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Cambodia, Laos. A round of applause.
For the Americas: Canada, United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Chile, Ecuador (Amazon), and Argentina. A round of applause.
For Africa: Egypt, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast and South Africa. Let’s hear it for them.
For Australia and Oceania. A round of applause.
We present the Responsible Itinerants of the Neocatechumenal Way in 134 nations. Let’s hear it for them!
The other presbyters present here.
The seminarians of the Redemptoris Mater seminaries.
And, finally, to so many brothers and sisters of the Neocatechumenal communities in Rome.
Holy Father, it is a beautiful spectacle that we will experience here today. In this generation God is calling families, in the image of the Holy Family of Nazareth, to bring the joy of God’s love to those who do not yet know him.
There are 430 families waiting to be confirmed and sent by you, so that filled with the Holy Spirit they can leave to be witnesses of the love and power of the Risen Christ. Thank you, Holy Father, for being here with us.
These families need to be confirmed by Peter. In the face of the many difficulties they will encounter and the tribulations that will come their way, the Pope’s presence will be a consolation, a great help and a defense.
The Neocatechumenal Way is a fruit of the Second Vatican Council, as St. Paul VI recognized from the beginning. This itinerary of Christian initiation leads people to an adult faith, through the rediscovery of the riches of our baptism.
Faced with the phenomenon of secularization, atheism and the crisis of moral, cultural and philosophical values, it is undoubtedly a wonderful thing that the Lord has raised up entire families, with their children, to emigrate and transplant themselves to the most secularized and poorest areas to bring the proclamation of Jesus Christ.
Christ is risen! This is why these brothers and sisters leave their homes, their relatives, their friends, their own land and go to evangelize, because Christ has granted them to participate in his victory over sin and death and they can offer their lives to others.
We recall with gratitude the words he addressed to us the last time we met, on May 4, 2018, in Tor Vergata, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Way: “You are a gift of the Holy Spirit for the Church.” For this reason, before listening to the Gospel, we want to invoke the Holy Spirit to help the families who are now leaving and the families who are already on mission. Let us ask for them the Holy Spirit, with His gifts, so that they may have patience in suffering and find true rest in the Cross of Christ. We all need the Holy Spirit, for without Him there is nothing pure or holy in us. Let us sing a hymn to the Holy Spirit.
This morning, June 27, 2022, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father Francis received in Audience the Families of the Neocatechumenal Way sent on mission and addressed them in the following speech:
Address by the Holy Father
We have heard Jesus’ mission: “Go, bear witness, preach the Gospel”. From that day on, the apostles, the disciples, all the people went forward with the same strength that Jesus had given them: it is the strength that comes from the Spirit. “Go and preach… Baptize”.
But we know that, once we have been baptized, the community that is born of this Baptism is free, it is a new Church; we must let it grow, help it to grow with its own ways, with its own culture… This is the history of evangelization. We are all the same in faith: I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Son who became incarnate, died and rose again for us, the Spirit who helps us and makes us grow: the same faith. But all with the modality of one’s own culture or the culture of the place where the faith was preached.
This work, this multicultural richness of the Gospel, which is born of the preaching of Jesus Christ and becomes culture, is, in a certain sense, the history of the Church: so many cultures but the same Gospel. So many peoples, the same Jesus Christ. So many good wills, the same Spirit. And this is what we are called to: to go forward with the strength of the Spirit, carrying the Gospel in our hearts and hands. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, not mine: it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which adapts to different cultures, but it is the same. Faith grows, faith is inculturated, but faith is always the same.
This missionary spirit, that is, letting yourselves be sent, is an inspiration for all of you. I thank you for it, and I ask you to be docile to the Spirit who sends you, docile and obedient to Jesus Christ in his Church. Everything in the Church, nothing outside the Church. This is the spirituality that must always accompany us: to preach Jesus Christ with the power of the Spirit in the Church and with the Church. And the one who is the head – let us say – of the different Churches is the bishop: always go forward with the bishop, always. He is the head of the Church, in this country, in this state….
Keep going! Keep up the good work! Thank you for your generosity. Do not forget the gaze of Jesus, who has sent each one of you to preach and to obey the Church. Thank you very much!