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‘It is in ordinary life that mission work is done’


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From: Archdiocese of San Francisco

(CNS PHOTO/ENRIQUE GARCIA MEDINA, REUTERS)

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio washes and kisses the feet of residents of a shelter for drug users during Holy Thursday Mass in 2008 at a church in a poor neighborhood of Buenos Aires.


Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis March 13, was known for his ministry of bringing the sacraments and the Gospel directly to the poor. In a 2009 interview with the magazine 30 Days, he noted the influence of the conference of Latin American and Caribbean bishops who met in Aparecida, Brazil, and produced a document that urged the church “to proclaim the Gospel by going to meet the people, not by waiting for the people to come to us. Missionary fervor does not require extraordinary events. It is in ordinary life that mission work is done.”


“And baptism, in this, is paradigmatic,” Cardinal Bergoglio added. “The sacraments are for the life of men and women as they are. They may not make big speeches, but their ‘sensus fidei’ grasps the reality of the sacraments with more clarity than many specialists do.”


The Latin American bishops said “that all human beings exist purely and simply by the love of God who created them, and by the love of God who preserves them at every moment. They decried “the dominant impact of the idols of power, wealth and fleeting pleasure” and proclaimed “the supreme value of every man and every woman.”


Millions of Latin American men and women cannot lead a life that responds to this dignity, the bishops said, noting that the preferential option for the poor is a distinguishing feature of the Latin American church.


The bishops also stated that “we absolutely must recognize that human life must always be defended from the very moment of conception. Otherwise, the circumstances and conveniences of the powerful will always find excuses for abusing persons.”


 



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