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Rome Reports

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Pope at General Audience: From the beginning, Christianity was preached by laity

Despite a gray and rainy day, the pope went out and toured in St. Peter's Square to greet the pilgrims.

In his address, the pope recalled the important role of two laypeople in St. Paul's evangelization. They were Aquila and Priscilla, who were exiled from Rome with the rest of the Jews by Emperor Claudius. The pope said unfortunately, the exile of the Jews is not a thing of the past.

We were all convinced this had ended, but today it pops up again here and there and there. It is the habit of persecuting Jews. Brothers and sisters, this is neither human nor Christian. The Jewish people are our brothers and they should not be persecuted. Understood?

Then Pope Francis recalled that Aquila and Priscilla risked a lot by allowing Christians to meet in their house.

How many families in time of persecution risk their lives to hide the persecuted? This is the first example.

Using this Christian couple as an example, the pope reflected on the importance of the laity in early evangelization.

Just think that from the beginning, Christianity was preached also by the laity. You laypeople are responsible, because of your baptism, for propelling the faith forward. I think many newlyweds are here. Are they here? Listen to your vocation.

Finally, the pope called for peace in Burkina Faso, recently hit by brutal terrorist attacks that cost the lives of hundreds of people.

I entrust to the Lord all the victims, the wounded and the numerous dispersed people who suffer because of this drama.

Burkina Faso is suffering under the weight of Islamic Fundamentalism. That is why Pope Francis asked authorities to act according to the spirit of human fraternity reflected in the document from Abu Dabhi. The pope and the Imam of al-Azhar, one of the main Sunni leaders of the Muslim world, signed that document. The two will meet again this Friday at the Vatican.

Javier Romero
Translation: Claudia Torres