Pope writes to French Bishops ahead of Autumn Plenary
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has written to the bishops of France as they begin their Autumn Plenary Session gathered in the Sanctuary in Our Lady of Lourdes .
In the message written by Vatican Secretary of State, Card. Pietro Parolin on the Holy Father’s behalf, the Pope praises the solidarity that the bishops have shown with the suffering Church in the Middle East and he calls them to always be a Church with its “doors wide open” for people and their life’s difficulties.
Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s message to the French Bishops’ Conference
While Lourdes is at the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of France, His Holiness Pope Francis wants to show you his spiritual closeness, asking the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, that your work may help to keep alive the missionary zeal of your Dioceses so that they may announce the joy of the Gospel in your country. This assembly takes place in a particular context, as it will be followed by the gathering of seminarians from France and the General Assembly of the religious of France. The Holy Father urges that these events, a prelude to the opening of the Year for Consecrated Life, be a source of comfort and hope for you, the pastors of the Church, but also for all the people of God. The different themes that you have chosen for this session reflect your concern to build a church “with doors wide open,” where there is room for everyone with their life’s difficulties. The Spirit of the Lord leads us to open new paths so that the Word of Life can be offered to all. The Holy Father encourages you on the road, difficult and yet so exhilarating, in communicating the love we have received to others. He particularly invites you to persevere in your generous efforts to show your fellowship and that of your diocesan churches with Christians in the Middle East who are sorely tried as well as people suffering in various parts of the world.
Entrusting all the Bishops of France, their collaborators and their dioceses to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette, Pope Francis cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon you all.
By sending this message with joy of the Holy Father, I assure you of my prayers for the fraternal success of your work.