HA NOI, VIET NAM -- The example of the priest St. Andrew Dung-Lac, and his 116 Companion Martyrs, were recalled this morning by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization Peoples during the encounter he had with the priests: "As priests and those responsible for the Church in Vietnam, you are called to be “salt and light” in this society. Imitate your heroic predecessor martyrs and be worthy to be their successors".
This is how the Cardinal stressed that the theme of evangelization is still relevant and will always be present and that the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium "must be the point of reference for the Church of Vietnam, which is called concomitantly to a path of conversion and to a strong commitment to evangelization".In his speech the Cardinal spoke first of all of the spiritual life, because "priesthood is not a job or a bureaucratic office that you can play at a time and that's it. The priest is 'a way of life' and not a job ... To fully live out the priestly identity, the spiritual life of the priest must be tied to prayer, to listening to the Word of God".
He, therefore reaffirmed the importance of priestly celibacy, supported by a fraternal relationship with brother priests and with their own Bishop, "as the father and head of our local Church".Finally, he focused on the pastoral life: "In order to dedicate our entire lives and all that we have to the service of the Church, we need to have the pastoral charity of Jesus, Who has given His life for the flock. We must imitate Jesus in His gift of Self and in His service...
The privileged recipients of pastoral charity are the poor, the marginalized, the little ones, the sick, sinners, and unbelievers. In a particular way in the large cities, we need to focus our attention on the immigrants and to the “slaves” of the modern day".
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