Priests and parish communities grieve for those who are leaving ...
Pope Francis made an invitation this January 18 regarding those who are leaving the Church: Pray more for them!
In greetings to Polish-speaking pilgrims at the end of today’s general audience, the Holy Father noted how priests are still making Christmas visits to families in these days, and parishes and families are still singing carols.
“May these events help you to be an open, outgoing Church to those who no longer participate in parish life,” he said.
The Holy Father added this reflection and invitation:
So many priests and parish communities grieve for those who are leaving, and as you think of them remember them in prayer more. We ask for everyone the grace of a strong faith and the gift of pastoral zeal for priests. I bless you from my heart.
Poland is seeing a rise in those leaving parish activities, as we reported late last year.
Recent studies examining the attendance at catechesis classes and the faith practice of Polish youth have found that the next generation may not be as zealous, in this traditionally Catholic country.
The Pope’s invitation was a summary of his second catechesis on apostolic zeal, which he began last week.
During the audience, he said:
And when we hear that someone has left the Church, what do we want to say? “Let them work it out?” No. Jesus teaches us to have nostalgia for those who have left. Jesus does not feel anger or resentment but pure longing for us. Jesus feels nostalgic for us and this is God’s zeal.