Pope Francis: The Method Of The Christian Mission Is Not Proselytism, But That The Sharing Of The Flame That Heats Up The Soul


Dear brothers and sisters,

Today is World Mission Day. What is the mission of the Church? To spread throughout the world the flame of faith that Jesus has lighted in the world: faith in God who is Father, Love, and Mercy. The method of the Christian mission is not proselytism, but that the sharing of the flame that heats up the soul. I thank all those who through prayer and concrete help sustain the work of the missions, in particular the solicitude of the Bishop of Rome for spread of the Gospel. On this Day, we are close to all men and women missionaries, who work without making noise, and who give their lives. [Missionaries] like the Italian Afra Martinelli, who worked for many years in Nigeria: one day she was killed in a robbery; everyone wept, Christians and Muslims. They really loved her! She announced the Gospel with her life, with the works she accomplished, a centre of instruction; in this way she spread the flame of faith, she fought the good fight. Let us think about this our sister, and greet her with applause, all of us!

I think too of Stefano Sándor, who was beatified yesterday in Budapest. He was a lay Salesian, exemplary in service to young people, in the oratory and in professional instruction. When the Communist regime closed all the Catholic churches, he confronted the persecutions with courage, and was killed when he was 39 years old. Let us unite ourselves with the Salesian family and the Hungarian Church in giving thanks.

I want to express my closeness to the people of the Philippines who have been struck by a strong earthquake, and I invite you to pray for that dear Nation, which in recent days has suffered different calamities.

I affectionately greet all the pilgrims present, beginning with the young people who gave lift to the “100 metre spring for faith” event, which was organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture. Thank you for reminding us that the believer is an athlete of the spirit! Thank you so much!

I welcome with joy the faithful of the Dioceses of Bologna and of Cesena-Sarsina, led by Cardinal Caffarra and Bishop Regattieri; as well as those of Corrientes, Argentina, and of Maracaibo and Barinas in Venezuela. And today in Argentina, “Mother’s Day” is celebrated. I offer an affectionate greeting to the mothers of my land!

I greet the prayer group “Raio de Luz” of Brazil; and the Fraternity of Secular Trinitarians.

There are many Italian parishes and associations, I can’t name them, but I greet all of you with affection and I thank you.

Buona Domenica! Arrivederci, and Buon Pranzo!

Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/10/20/pope_francis:_pray_always,_without_growing_weary/en1-738940
of the Vatican Radio website