Parishes are essential places to grow in faith, community – Diocese of Scranton

Pope Francis shakes hands with a child during an audience at the Vatican with members of the young adult section of Italian Catholic Action, October 29, 2022. (CNS Photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The COVID-19 pandemic has weakened many parishes, but this community “among homes, among people,” remains an essential place to nurture and share faith, Pope Francis said to young Italian adults.

The parish is “the normal environment where we learned to hear the Gospel, to know the Lord Jesus, to serve gratuitously, to pray in community, to share projects and initiatives, to feel part of the holy people of God “, the pope told the leaders. of the young adult section of Italian Catholic Action, a parish program of faith building and social action.

Meeting with thousands of young adults Oct. 29, Pope Francis said he knows that in most cities and towns the parish church is not the center of religious and social life as it was when he was growing, but “for our journey of faith and growth”. , the parish experience was and is important, irreplaceable.

With its mix of members, the pope said, the parish is the place to discover how “in the church we are all brothers and sisters through baptism; that we are all protagonists and responsible; that we have different gifts which are all for the good of the community; that life is a vocation, following Jesus; and that faith is a gift to give, a gift to witness.

Part of this witnessing, he said, is to show concretely how faith leads to charity and the desire for justice.

In the neighborhood, the city and the region, “our motto is not ‘I don’t care’, but ‘I care!’”, declared the pope.

The “disease of indifference” can be “more dangerous than cancer”, he told the youngsters. “Human misery is not a fate that befalls some unfortunate people, but almost always the result of injustices that must be eradicated.”

Pope Francis urged young people not to be frustrated or put off by the fact that in their parishes “the community dimension is a bit weak”, which “has been made worse by the pandemic”.

Learning to see each other as brothers and sisters, he said, does not begin with a meeting or a parish activity, but with each one through prayer and, above all, through the Eucharist celebrated and shared in the parish.

“Brotherhood in the Church is founded on Christ, on his presence in us and among us,” the pope said. “Thanks to him, we welcome each other, we support each other – Christian love is built on tolerance – and we forgive each other.”

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