Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou
Many of you will know that Pope Francis has a prayer intention for every month. His prayer intention for February asks that parishes be generous and open, becoming communities of faith, fraternity and welcome towards those most in need.
In a video about his prayer intention for February Pope Francis emphasizes the importance of parishes. The video begins with an image of the outside of a beautiful but empty parish church, followed by that of the same church full of people. He says, “Please, let us be daring. Let us all rethink the style of our parochial communities, (that they) may increasingly become communities of faith, of fraternity and of welcoming the most in need.”
In his Evangelii Gaudium, published very early in his pontificate, Pope Francis highlighted the centrality of the parish and spoke of the parish being “the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters.” This is why it should be, he said “in contact with the homes and the lives of its people” and not become “a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of a chosen few.”
It is a wonderful thing that everyone has great hopes and dreams of what their parish can be: welcoming, alive, prayerful, serving and caring for others, homilies that inspire, great music, etc. It can be a very long list of hopes. Sometimes people expect that all these hopes and dreams will be implemented by the priest, but realistically one or two priests in a parish cannot do everything.
Another time when Francis was speaking about parishes he said: “… they need to really be communities, with the people at the centre, because we are truly a community when we know each other, know each other’s names, needs, and voices. How often is it the case that parishes have become a group of more or less unfamiliar people who meet for Mass on Sunday, but without community life…”
This February we can make the prayer intention of the Pope our own intention. Let us pray for all our parishes in a special way this month, as Pope Francis says: “Let us pray that parishes, placing communion – communion of people, ecclesial communion – at the centre, may increasingly become communities of faith, of fraternity and of welcoming the most in need.”
You can see the video at https://thepopevideo.org/.
Nāku noa. Nā