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Evangelii Gaudium: a Salesian Reading

By ANS - Rome
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Kolkata, Dec. 4. (ANS - Rome) - The recently published Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis has sparked a huge interest in the whole Church and beyond, for its content and freshness. We asked the Rector Major, Fr Pascual Chavez, for his contribution on the subject.
Joy is one of the typical features of the Salesian charism. How has the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium been received?

The joy of which the Pope speaks is the joy of the Good News, of God who becomes weak as we are, coming among us as a child. It is the supreme manifestation of the love of God, who humbled himself to become a man like us, and so raise us to the dignity of his children. Only God could have thought of so radical a reversal of our human way of thinking. That is why we cannot fail to evangelize. That is why we feel within us the urgency to communicate to others, especially to young people, the joy and beauty of the faith that gives meaning, hope and a future to our lives and to our commitment to collaborate in building a better world for all, especially the poorest, most disadvantaged and marginalized.

What struck you in particular in this text?

It is an exceptional document, and it is not mere chance that it was issued at the end of the year of the Faith proclaimed by Benedict XVI to celebrate the Council that providentially renewed the Church. It comes from the heart of Francis, Bishop of Rome, the result of his pastoral experience at the forefront and his lengthy meditation on the urgency of proclaiming the Gospel to the world today.

In perfect harmony with the content of his speeches and in his own personal style, Pope Francis said he did not intend to write a theoretical treatise, but to show the practical implications of the important topics covered in the text. The purpose is very clear: to help to define a specific style of evangelization to be implemented in all evangelizing activities.

The new text is fully in line with Pope Paul VI's incomparable Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi as evoked by its very title, and maybe some of it comes directly from the heart of Pope Francis. It is a magna carta for the Church of today, outlining policy and fundamental consequences. Things cannot be left as they are. The Church should be in a permanent state of conversion and mission.

What does Evangelii Gaudium have to say to the Salesian Congregation in particular?

I think this Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis puts us in the right spirit for the forthcoming General Chapter, which will necessarily and providentially be guided by this policy document. It gives us a vision of how the Church should be: without fear of the modern world, seeking new ways of preaching the Gospel, more missionary and more compassionate, and with more courage to make all the necessary changes.

The Pope calls on the Church to overcome its fear, get out of its own structures and let go of the false security which make us more rigid and less effective evangelizers. He calls on the Church to denounce an economic model that makes money an idol, generating social exclusion and creating a culture of rejection and indifference. The Church, therefore, has a special predilection for the poor and a strong commitment to social justice and peace.

Allow me at this point to ask you to read this Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel.  Study it and make it known  Make it the object of prayer. Let it warm your heart.  Above all, let us set out on a journey filled with joy to bring this happy message to young people.



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