EUROPE/PORTUGAL - Cardinal Filoni concludes the jubilee celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the Diocese of Funchal

Monday, 16 June 2014

Funchal (Agenzia Fides) - "As the Trinitarian love of God, even ecclesial love must be given to others. First of all, for those who do not know the love of God, or are far away from him, or do not feel humanly worthy to be loved, because they feel sinners.
This is your program and the commitment to which Jesus calls the Church of Funchal today!" This is the exhortation that Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, addressed to the Diocese of Funchal, the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, where he presided as Special Envoy of the Holy Father, the concluding celebration for the 500th anniversary of its creation.
The celebration took place on Sunday afternoon, June 15, Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, at the height of the Diocesan Jubilee Assembly convened at the "dos Barreiros" stadium (see Fides 11/06/2014).
In his homily, Cardinal Filoni expressed the gratitude of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to this local Church for the outstanding contribution given to the missionary work, "for having helped and supported thousands of missionaries who have gone to these islands, to America, Africa and Asia".
"With regards to the historical and pastoral aspect - continued the Cardinal - Funchal held in those heroic times of the missions, an important task, as Pope Leo X wrote in his Bull of institution of the diocese ... in support of the missionary activity of the Church for new lands".
In such context we find the appropriate diocesan pastoral plan, which in the period 2011-2013 prepared the Jubilee celebration on the theme "Diocese, Church in Mission", thus revitalizing its missionary roots with the goal of building "Live and apostolic Christian communities". "This aspect of the missionary activity of the Church is very dear to Pope Francis - stressed the Prefect of the Congregation - which is the object of reflection and continual encouragement", and has found its wider and articulated expression in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. The program of the Diocese of Funchal therefore "is not only in tune with the vision of the Pope on the Church today, but projects the life of this diocese in a new dynamic", added Cardinal Filoni, highlighting the commitment "to relaunch the missionary spirit which distinguishes it significantly since the beginning of its creation". "There is nothing more important in the life of a Christian and a church - he added - than one’s missionary vocation. Finally, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples recalled: "in order for that impulse to take effect, it is also necessary that every Christian has deep faith and love of his faith; that gives a consistent witness in a multicultural society in crisis of spiritual and moral values, particularly this one, characterized by the phenomenon of migration and tourism". The first social environment in which it is necessary to revive faith is the family, highlighted the Cardinal, to counter the current trend to weaken it: "Loyalty, perseverance and fertility are cornerstones of a family that has its foundations in Christ". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 16/06/2014)