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This month Pope Francis has also asked us to pray, “that the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.”
Ever since the establishment of the European Union, the Catholic Church has been a voice crying out in the wilderness, urging the peoples of Europe to not forget the Christian heritage that shaped and formed the many countries of today. It is a heritage that is not meant to remain secluded to a page in history, but something that gives life, joy and hope to a people who have grown weary.
In an address to Old Catholics in Europe, Pope Francis recalled the need for forgiveness and reconciliation so that all Christians may unite and work for the common good of all:
“[I]n the heart of Europe, which is so confused about its own identity and vocation, there are many areas in which Catholics and Old Catholics can collaborate in meeting the profound spiritual crisis affecting individuals and societies. There is a thirst for God. There is a profound desire to recover a sense of purpose in life. There is an urgent need for a convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel. In this we can support and encourage one another, especially at the level of parishes and local communities. In fact, the soul of ecumenism lies in a ‘change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians’ (Unitatis Redintegratio, 8). In prayer for and with one another our differences are taken up and overcome in fidelity to the Lord and his Gospel.”
Pope Francis challenges the peoples of Europe to breathe new life into the Gospel, meeting the needs and desires of the human heart. The Gospel should not be viewed as some outdated text that fails to fulfill the heart, but a living word that understands our longings and fulfills them, giving us a joy that we cannot contain.
Let us pray this month for the peoples of Europe, that they may renew with vigor their Gospel zeal and proclaim to the world the great truth, beauty and goodness of God’s Word.
- Philip Kosloski
Writer and Content Manager
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)