Cardinal Bergolio and the bishops gathered in Aparecida in 2007 had a clear plan for the pastoral conversion of parishes:
- 1. To offer a personal experience of Jesus Christ through personal testimony.
- 2. To create warm and welcoming communities.
- 3. To offer solid ongoing formation in Scripture and doctrine as a tools for spiritual growth.
- 4. To seek out those alienated from the Church.
- If parishes did the four things above, what would happen? In my mine number one is the most important. This means a sacramental parish that has its church doors open for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and if possible perpetual adoration and frequently scheduled Confessions.
It means celebrating the allowed forms of the Mass with dignity and devoutly.
It means offering the Liturgy of the Hours and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
It means helping Catholics to rediscover Catholic spirituality through personal prayer and a strong devotional life.
Once Catholics are strengthened in the above ways, the rest can follow through appropriate leadership guiding the way.
And this is what Pope Francis said just this morning about sinners, sin and forgiveness. Have your heard this from the pulpit? It doesn't get any more orthodox than this:
The Pope went on to say that the love Christ showed was a love open to all, a love which was fulfilled on the Cross. “Jesus,” said Pope Francis in an emphatic departure from his prepared remarks, “did not bring hatred, nor did He bring enmity: He brought love – a great love – a heart open to all – to all of us – a love that saves.”
The Holy Father went on to say that no one is excluded from God’s merciful love – and that He proved this once and for all from the Cross. “We are all sinners,” he said in another emphatic departure, “but we are all forgiven: we all have the possibility of receiving this pardon, which is the mercy of God; we need not fear, therefore, to recognize ourselves sinners, confess ourselves sinners, because every sin was carried by the Son to the Cross.”
Pope Francis concluded with an exhortation to frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation, saying that it offers us the forgiveness that flows from the Cross and which renews us in His grace, and inviting everyone everywhere in this Jubilee Year to embrace the Gospel with greater vigor and be heralds of the Father’s mercy and forgiveness.
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