The Vatican's Paul VI Hall was teeming with life as hundreds of families from the Neocatechumenal Way packed the seats to see Pope Francis. Songs filled the Hall as they waited.
When the Pope stepped out, cheers replaced the music. The audience was the last step before for these families, before heading out around the world to become missionaries.
Co-initiator, Neocatechumenal Way
"As these brothers go through this Baptism, the sin of the flesh loses strength, up to the point that they feel free to offer themselves to the Church. This is the result of Baptism.”
Pope Francis offered them advice as they prepare for their missionary work. The families will move to areas like China or India, where the Church's presence is small, if non-existent. As they head out into these "existential peripheries,” the Pope said it was important to build Church unity wherever they went.
"This means paying attention to the life of the Churches to which your leaders send you, to enhance the riches, to suffer for the weaknesses if necessary, and to walk together, like one flock, under the guidance of the pastors of the local Churches.”
The Pope also said that the Spirit of God will help them in adapting to the cultures of their missionary countries; and to figure out how the Gospel can help the people in the area. He asked the members of the Neocatechumenate to look out for each other, especially the weak.
"Tell everyone you will meet on the streets of your mission that God loves man as he is, even with his limits, with his mistakes, with his sins. For this, he sent his Son, so that he could take our sins upon himself. Be messengers and witnesses of the infinite goodness and the inexhaustible mercy of the Father.”
Pope Francis entrusted the families to Our Lady, and asked them to be passionate and joyful in their testimony. After his speech, he spent nearly half an hour greeting each mission. They're made up of three families, as well as a priest, a seminarian and two single women. In all, about 40 missions will head out around the world.