All Christians are called to evangelise, the Pope said yesterday. Speaking to members of a congress in Rome organized by the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe on the theme, "The duty of priests in the catechesis in Europe," John Paul II said that priests must "announce the Gospel of the kingdom to everyone" and "consider as an obligation to the people of God the transmitting of the Gospel and doing it with the greatest theological and cultural preparation." "As first catechist in the community," he said, "a priest, especially if he is pastor of a parish, is called to be the first believer and disciple of the Word of God, and to dedicate careful attention to the discernment and guidance of vocations for the catechetical service. As 'catechist of the catechists', he must be concerned with their spiritual, cultural and doctrinal formation." After emphasizing that the priest receives from the bishop "the mandate to preach and to teach," the Holy Father said: "The reference to the Magisterium of the bishop in the one diocesan priesthood and the obedience to the instructions which, in terms of catechesis, each pastor and the episcopal conferences set forth for the good of the faithful, are for the priest elements that must be valued in catechetical activity." In this sense, he stressed the importance of "studying and using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an indispensable 'vademecum' offered by priests, catechists, and all the faithful, in order to guide the catechesis along the paths of authentic fidelity to God and to the people of our times." "Catechesis in the family, in the work place, in schools and universities, through the media and new languages, brings together priests and lay people, parishes and movements. They are all called to cooperate in the new evangelization in order to maintain and revitalize our common Christian roots. The Christian faith represents the richest patrimony which the European people can draw upon in order to make true spiritual, economic and social progress."
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