Wednesday, October 16, 2013
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St Peter’s Square. During his catechetical remarks, the Holy Father focused on the Church’s Apostolic character and nature. Addressing thousands of pilgrims and visitors gathered Wednesday morning in St Peter’s Square under a suddenly brilliant October sky, Pope Francis spoke of a threefold sense in which the Church is Apostolic: through the chain of leadership from Peter and the 12 that has remained unbroken down to the present day and that shall remain unbroken until the end of time; through the Church’s care for and transmission of the whole teaching of Christ; through the Church’s accomplishment in history of the mission of teaching and baptizing all nations, with which Christ entrusted the Apostles and their successors.
Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis explained that praying is the first task of the Apostle, who is one sent to continue the mission of Christ in history. “The second,” he went on to explain, is to proclaim the Gospel.” Speaking especially of the bishops who are the Apostles’ successors, the Holy Father went on to say, “All of us, if we would be apostles, must ask ourselves: ‘Do I pray for the salvation of the world, and proclaim the Gospel?’ This is the Apostolic Church. It is a constitutive bond we have with the Apostles.”
These were themes echoed in the English-language summary read after the Holy Father’s main catechesis in Italian:
“May we come to appreciate and love the Church as the place where we encounter the Risen Lord, who sends us forth as his missionaries, inviting all whom we meet to know the truth of the Gospel, the joy of faith and the promise of eternal life proclaimed by the Apostles.”
Prayer and proclamation of the Gospel: the living ties to the Apostles shared by all in the Church.