Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - "Pope Francis asks us to pray to promote the universal missionary spirit: it is necessary to give impetus to cooperation to harmonize missionary forces and live the human and intercultural experience of 'travel', seen as an important experience of encounter with others, in a climate of solidarity and fraternity". Thus reports to Agenzia Fides Father Raphael Zgheib, Maronite priest, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) of Lebanon, speaking of the preparations underway in the local Church in view of missionary October, the month in which, traditionally, Catholics from all over the world come together to support the missionary work of the Church, celebrating World Mission Day, scheduled for 18 October 2020 this year.
"Pope Francis, on more than one occasion, has emphasized the importance of making interreligious dialogue an apostolic priority for the third millennium", observes Father Zgheib. "Especially here, in Lebanon - he explains - in a context often characterized by divisions and conflicts, this aspect takes on a profound missionary value: dialogue seeks to unleash the unifying and liberating potential of all religions, thus showing the relevance of religion for human well-being, justice and world peace. It is necessary - underlines the National Director of the PMS - to enter in a positive relationship with believers of other religions, because they are our 'neighbor'. The common elements of our religious heritage and of our concern for mankind oblige us to establish ever closer ties, based on universally accepted ethical values ".
Another trait of authentic missionary work is that which places the Church at the service of the poor and those who suffer: "In the stories of the Gospel, Jesus always accompanied the steps of people's growth with mercy", explains Father Raphael. "As Saint Therese of Lisieux said - he concludes - the Church has a missionary heart and must recognize the real condition in which people find themselves, with their sins and their frailties, and must become weak with the weak". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 22/9/2020)