"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our catechesis today deals with Saint Alphonsus Liguori, an outstanding eighteenth-century preacher, scholar and Doctor of the Church. Alphonsus left a brilliant career as a lawyer to become a priest, and greatly contributed to the renewal of the Church in his native Naples.
He began as a missionary among the urban poor, gathering small groups for prayer and instruction in the faith. Broadening his pastoral outreach, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer – the Redemptorists – as a group of itinerant missionaries. Alphonsus’ pastoral zeal also found expression in his moral teaching, which emphasized divine mercy and the relationship between God’s law and our deepest human needs and aspirations.
His many spiritual writings, marked by a deep Christological and Marian piety, stressed the practice of prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. May this great Doctor of the Church, venerated also as the patron of moral theologians, help us to respond ever more fully to God’s call to grow in holiness, and inspire in priests, religious and laity a firm commitment to the new evangelization.
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, especially those from England, Norway, Japan, the Philippines and the United States. To the choirs I express my gratitude for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you I cordially invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace".