• The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
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  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament

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Pope Francis on Evangelization

Pope Francis meets with the poor in Assissi, Italy.

Pope Francis leads a meeting with the poor in Assisi, Italy. In his first extensive piece of writing as pope, our Holy Father lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelization, with a focus on society’s poorest and most vulnerable, including the aged and unborn. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In his first extensive piece of writing as pope, Pope Francis lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelization in a positive key, with a focus on society’s poorest and most vulnerable, including the aged and unborn.

Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), released by the Vatican Nov. 26, is an apostolic exhortation, one of the most authoritative categories of papal document. (Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, published in July, was mostly the work of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.)

The pope wrote the new document in response to the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization, but declined to work from a draft provided by synod officials.

Pope Francis’ voice is unmistakable in the 50,000-word document’s relatively relaxed style – he writes that an “evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!” – and its emphasis on some of his signature themes, including the dangers of economic globalization and “spiritual worldliness.”

The church’s message “has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary,” he writes. “In this basic core, what shines forth is the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead.”

Inspired by Jesus’ poverty and concern for the dispossessed during his earthly ministry, Pope Francis calls for a “church which is poor and for the poor.”

The poor “have much to teach us,” he writes. “We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voices to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.”