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Pope Francis: “Apostles are not only the twelve disciples but all the baptized”

During the General Audience, Pope Francis explained why all Christians are called to evangelize. 

He said that the “apostles are not only the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus, but all the baptized, who form the holy and faithful people of God.”

Pope Francis explained that the Lord calls us to a specific mission and vocation at baptism, adding that “each one carries it out in an active and creative way, according to the gifts and charisms he has received.”


Dear brothers and sisters:

In our continuing catechesis on missionary zeal, we now consider the apostolic dimension of evangelization. In the Creed, we profess that the Church is “apostolic”. An “apostle” is literally one who is “sent”. In the Scriptures, we read that Jesus chose the twelve Apostles, called them to himself and then sent them forth to proclaim the Gospel. After his resurrection, he appeared to the Twelve and said: “As the Father has sent me, so now I send you”, breathing upon them the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins (Jn 20:21-22).

Within the diversity of ministries and charisms in the Body of Christ, all the baptized are called and sent forth to advance the Church’s apostolate. Those who are ordained have received the mission of teaching, governing and sanctifying in Jesus’ name and authority, yet all the members of the faithful, as sharers in the Lord’s priestly, prophetic and regal office, are called to be missionary disciples, “apostles in an apostolic Church”. May the recognition of our common dignity and equality inspire us to ever greater unity and cooperation in proclaiming, by word and example, the good news of our salvation in Christ.

I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Sweden and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that this Lent will be a time of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.