Says Prayer Is Foundation for Missionary Work

The secret to evangelization is a longing for sanctity, contemplation of the face of Christ, and a desire to share him with others, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this in a message to the Pontifical Missionary Works. About 100 of its directors have been gathered in general assembly in Rome since Monday.

According to a statement from the information office of the Spanish chapter of the Works, the papal message also referred to the face of Christ “present in the poor and marginalized,” as well as contemplative prayer as the foundation of the mission.

The Holy Father recalled to the leaders of the missionary group that it is Christ and his Spirit who evangelize.

He noted that we are collaborators, the statement continued, and “we will be if we raise our hands in prayer and contemplate the face of Christ from a posture of adoration.”

The Bishop of Rome also mentioned a topic that has been under discussion during the general assembly: the formation of priests and men and women religious.

Mature in faith

The prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Ivan Días, affirmed during the assembly that the most urgent need regarding formation is being able to “count on people who are formed and mature in the faith.”

The cardinal noted that every year, there is an increasing number of requests for missionary help, particularly from China and Vietnam.

He mentioned that in China, there are currently some 12 million Catholics and 110 bishops in communion with the Holy See. More than ever, the cardinal said, they need help, especially in the formation of pastoral ministers.

Cardinal Días reiterated that the Pope’s message was for their reflection, considering that the Holy Father’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land made it impossible to receive the group in audience.