Pope speaks on 'value and importance of the parish'

 On Saturday the Pope spoke about the importance of the laity when he met members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity which has been reflecting upon the theme: "We Must Continue Walking, 'Departing' from Christ, that is, from the Eucharist." John Paul II said: "today there is a need for faithful lay people, conscious of their vocation to proclaim the Gospel and the responsibility that comes from being Christ's disciples in order to bear witness to charity and solidarity in all environments of modern society." After referring to the plenary's theme which "completes the (council's previous) courses on the sacraments of Christian initiation," the Holy Father said that such reflection "naturally brings attention to the parish, the community in which these great mysteries are celebrated. How important it is to discover once again the value and importance of the parish as a place in which the contents of Catholic tradition are passed on!" Due to "the impact of strong currents of de-christianization, many baptized persons seem to have lost contact with this religious patrimony," he stressed. "A certain relativism tends to feed discriminating attitudes in relation to the contents of doctrine and Catholic moral teaching, accepted or rejected on the basis of subjective or arbitrary preference." "Only a faith that lays its roots in the sacramental structure of the Church," added the Pope, "that drinks from the fountains of the Word of God and Tradition, that becomes new life and renewed intelligence of reality, can make baptized persons capable of resisting the impact of the dominant secularized culture." The Holy Father ended by stressing that the "Eucharist, 'font and summit of all Christian life', completes and crowns Christian initiation. It increases our union with Christ, separates and protects us from sin, strengthens the bonds of charity, sustains our efforts throughout the pilgrimage of life, and makes us look forward to the glory to which we are all destined." source: Vatican News Service

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