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Card. Francis Arinze: In the Church nobody is a spectator

Cardinal Francis Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has published the book “The Evangelizing Parish.”

He hopes this book will help reinvigorate within priests and laity the mind set that the parish is the primary place to spread the Gospel. 

Among his many observations, one of them is on religious movements and groups working with parishes. He says, though very important in their work for the parish, sometimes there is a danger for groups to perceive themselves as 'real Catholics' and others as 'ordinary.' 

Former Prefect, Divine Worship and Sacraments

“They function in harmony with the parish. They are in understanding with diocesan rules. They do not walk as a parallel Church, alongside the parish Church, that is the risk.”

He also talks about the importance of the lay vocation. He noted that sometimes there is a temptation for lay people to flee toward a more religiously orientated environment; rather than respond to their call to sanctify the world. 

Former Prefect for Worship and Sacraments

“You will evangelize them from within. Indeed that is the apostolate specific for the lay people, to Christianize the secular area from within, which means family, work, profession.”

He even says how priests, despite difficulties, must get to know their parishioners more. 

The cardinal refers to how Pope Francis' closeness to the the people can serve as an example for others in reinvigorating the parish. 

Former Prefect for Worship and Sacraments

“Pope Francis says he prefers a Church that get their shoes dirty because it is going out to meet the people. Not the ones who sit in the comfort of the sacristy.”

According to Arinze, nobody is a spectator in the Church but the participation of everyone is required. He says that a parish must be focused on “Doctrine, worship and service.”