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The Pope has indicated that the Catholic Church must respond to the world’s tendency toward secularism, with a “strong witness of faith, particularly through Sunday Mass.” Parts of his recent address to Australian bishops include:
“The Church’s witness to the hope that she holds is especially powerful when she gathers together for worship. Sunday Mass, because of its special solemnity, the obligatory presence of the faithful, and its celebration on the day when Christ conquered death, expresses with great emphasis the Eucharist’s inherent ecclesial dimension,” he said. “The mystery of the Church is made present in a most tangible way. Consequently Sunday is the supreme day of faith, an indispensable day, the day of Christian hope,” the Pope added. “Any weakening in the Sunday observance of holy Mass weakens Christian discipleship and dims the light of witness to Christ’s presence in our world,” he cautioned.
In addition to Sunday observance, the Pope indicated a need to further expand the “witnessing” to the world. “Sent by the Lord himself into the vineyard—the home, the workplace, schools, civic organizations—disciples of Christ find no room for ‘standing idle in the marketplace’ nor can they be so deeply immersed in the internal organization of parish life, that they are distracted from the command to evangelize others actively,” the Pope said. Finally, he added, “Renewed by the strength of the risen Lord and his Spirit, Christ’s followers must return to their vineyard burning with a desire to speak of Christ and to show him to the world.”