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Evangelize the culture by opening parish doors, Pope urges

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In a meeting yesterday with the lay organization Catholic Action in Italy, Pope Francis spoke of the urgent need for Catholic parishes to be open and outgoing places of service. “It’s a matter of opening the doors and allowing Jesus to be able to go outside. Many times we have Jesus closed inside the parish with us, and we don’t go outside and we don’t let him go out!” the Holy Father exclaimed, “open the doors because He goes, at least He does! It’s a matter of an ‘outgoing’ Church: a Church always going out.”

The Pope warned of parishes "marked" by what he called a "spirit of tiredness" and being closed in upon themselves, and he warned that there were many such parishes that were like this, and he explained the way that a parish community should behave. “When I greet the parish secretaries, I ask them: ‘but are you the secretaries that open the door or those who close the door?’ These parishes need your apostolic enthusiasm, your full availability, and your creative service,” Francis explained.

“Go along the streets of your cities and of your countries, and announce that God is Father and that Jesus Christ has made himself known to you, and through this, your lives have changed,” the Pontiff taught with enthusiasm. “Let us ask the Lord, for all us, eyes that can see beyond appearances, ears that can hear cries, whispers, and even silence; hands that know how to support, embrace and heal. Let us ask above all for a wide and merciful heart that desires the good and the salvation of all,” the Pope said.

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