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What’s a Christian’s first duty? Pope’s answer


Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 01/30/24

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As Christians, we might consider that we have to live in society in such a way that our faith makes a visible difference in the world. And this is certainly true.

But Pope Francis noted this week that there is a more fundamental duty that pertains to every Christian.

In brief, extemporaneous remarks to a delegation from the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (also known as the Apostleship of Prayer), on January 26, the Pope spoke of the duty of prayer.

Action alone, apostolic though it may be, without prayer is an entrepreneurial matter. Prayer is what gives meaning to the apostolate.

I have always been very struck by what Peter says to the apostles after they invented deacons. He says: What about us? That is, the bishops? Prayer and the proclamation of the word. That is, the first duty of a bishop is to pray. The first duty of a Christian is to pray.

Prayer. Otherwise, we run the risk of becoming a purely natural, worldly institution. Or a political one.


The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is responsible for announcing the Pope’s monthly intention. One way in which they do this is through the monthly Pope Video.

In the Bible, Acts 6 recounts the selection of deacons and the Apostles’ dedication to prayer:

And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, brothers and sisters, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.”

Pope FrancisPrayerSpiritual Life
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