With a video message on Friday Pope Francis kicked off the Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles, United States, March 18-20.
Amid the social crisis triggered by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, our hope lies is in the Lord who invites us to proclaim his mercy, tenderness and love, “not with fine words, but with genuine acts”.
Pope Francis made the point in a video message to the participants in the 4-day Religious Education Congress that kicked off on Friday in Los Angeles, United States. “Living Waters of Hope” is the theme of the March 18-20 congress, sponsored by the Office of Religious Education for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The event is the largest annual gathering of its kind in the world.
The Heart of Jesus
Speaking in Spanish, Pope Francis said the theme of the congress “invites us to constantly renew ourselves in the water and blood that flow from the heart of Jesus, as wellsprings of mercy for the entire world.” “Without this living water,” he said, “our mission may be transformed into an internal and painful religiosity…”
The Cross our hope
The Holy Father said that the pandemic continues to invite us to watch over each other. By causing social separation and the loss of many lives, the pandemic is generating a social crisis. In this time of fear and uncertainty with the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, Our Lord continues to invite us to go ahead and proclaim our faith in his mercy, in his tenderness and in his tremendous love.
In His cross, we have an anchor and a rudder that saves and redeems. “We have a hope: in His cross, we were healed and embraced so that no-one and nothing can separate us from His redeeming love.”
A Church which goes forth
The Pope noted that this year the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was marking the 250th anniversary of the Saint Gabriel Mission, the first Church founded by Saint Junipero Serra, the Apostle of Mexico and California. He recalled that during the canonization of the saint in 2015, he regarded him as the “embodiment of ‘a Church which goes forth’, a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God”. He said, “If you are a Christian, you are Church; the Church is outgoing, not inward-looking, and you must reach the existential peripheries with courage and creativity!”
Pope Francis prayed that the Lord fill their hearts with the living waters of His Spirit and renew their zeal as missionary disciples who always “go ahead” in faith, to take his hope to the entire world, not with fine words, but with genuine acts of accompaniment, sharing with everyone the joy of knowing that we are not alone.
With thanks to Robin Gomes and Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.