Parishioners have responsibility for mission of the Church

Pope Benedict

Rome, Italy, Mar 7, 2010 / 11:26 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday morning, the Holy Father celebrated Mass at St. John of the Cross, a parish located in the northern part of Rome. In his first visit to the relatively new church, Pope Benedict reminded the congregation that they are “co-responsible” for the Church and her mission.

The Holy Father presided over the Eucharistic celebration on the third Sunday of Lent on his visit to the church, which was consecrated in 2001. He exhorted the people “to make this church a place where you can better listen to the Lord, who speaks to you in Sacred Scripture,” he said, calling it the “life giving center” of the community.

Addressing the involvement of the lay faithful, he urged them to not only be “collaborators” in their roles in the Church but to be “co-responsible for the being and action of the Church.”

Benedict XVI told the families and youth to become involved in the announcement of the Gospel, not waiting for others to bring messages that “don’t lead to life,” but to make themselves “missionaries of Christ” for others. In going out into different areas of the community, he added, they can educate people to pray and to live life as a gift from God.

Referring to Jesus’ message of conversion in Sunday’s Gospel, Pope Benedict emphasized that we are all invited by God to change ourselves by thinking and living according to the Gospel, making corrections to our ways of praying, acting and working in relation to others.

“Jesus directs this call to us with urgency,” explained the Holy Father, “…because he is worried for our good, our happiness and our salvation.”

“For our part, we should respond to him with a sincere interior effort, asking him to make us” realize the aspects of our lives where we are called to repentance.

The Holy Father concluded by highlighting the Lenten invitation to each one of us “to recognize the mystery of God that makes itself present in our lives.”

“We remain in the contemplation of this mystery … to better understand the mystery of Lent.” He then emphasized the necessity of living “individually and as a community in perennial conversion, so as to be a ‘constant epiphany’ in the world of the living God, who liberates and saves for love.”

Pope Benedict XVI was joined by a number of clergy on the occasion, including Cardinal Vicar of Rome Agostino Vallini and parish priest Fr. Enrico Gemma.