The Apostleship of Prayer has announced the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for August.
GENERAL INTENTION: That parents and teachers may help the new generation to grow in upright conscience and life.
MISSION INTENTION: That the local Church in Africa, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, may promote peace and justice.
The following pastoral comment was released by the Apostleship of Prayer on the General Intention
The primary vocation and mission of parents and educators is to be living witnesses of faith, wisdom and responsible solidarity – a mission which is always joyful and difficult, that of forming and accompanying our children and students in their religious and spiritual, cognitive and intellectual, affective and social development.
Parents and educators are the first formators and living witness to Christian piety and the human and humanising warmth which every child and young person has a right to receive and then ought to pass on. For that, everything we say and do influences a child or young person who is beginning to define his way of living in the world with other people, in the culture and in the Church. Reflection and the ability to think are not only hidden in books and in texts to be studied; they are defined, first and above all, in the way in which we help others to think, to criticise constructively, to imagine and to dream. Finally the affection, love and respect with which we relate to one another at home and at school help to build ways of relating on a human scale, in their turn affection, love and respect towards other men and women.
As parents and educators we form a collaborative community to make of the younger generation a new humanity, restored and renewed. We wish to form a new humanity with faith and Christian piety, social sense, political commitment and responsibility, professional and academic excellence. Parents and educators ought to collaborate in the mission of forming with a sense of responsibility, excellence and piety.
With the Pope, let us pray this month that the Spirit of God may fill the hearts of parents and educators, our minds and our souls, to be and to do what God the Father taught Jesus and teaches all his sons and daughters: to love and to be living witnesses of the way of life of Jesus, who loves, serves and seeks new ways of proclaiming the Kingdom of his Father.
Fr. José Ignacio Baeza, sjDirector of Pastoral Ministry and Formation,
College of St. Louis (Antofagasta, Chile)PhD in Education, Univ. Complutense, Madrid.
The following pastoral comment was released by the Apostleship of Prayer on the Mission Intention
The lack of peace and justice is evident in Africa. That was one of the reasons in favour of holding the second assembly of the African Bishops’ Synod in Rome in 2009, even though the first had taken place only 15 years earlier. The events of recent years have only confirmed the fact that there is neither peace nor justice in Africa. The big revolts in North Africa, with reversals of power, the elections in most countries without democracy or transparency, even leading to armed conflicts; the appropriation of power by certain individuals, and the refusal of change despite their advanced age; the pauperisation of the masses; the use of children in armed conflicts; the rape of women; the persecution of Christians here and there…. are so many real indicators which show us the sombre face of Africa.
And yet the gospel arrived in Africa a very long time ago, already in the first centuries. And many African countries have celebrated the centenary of evangelisation. However, the need for a real, in-depth evangelisation is still to be felt. As Benedict XVI says in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Africae Munus, all this shows the need to ‘evangelise the African soul in depth.’ (AM 91).
Even if it is true that Africa is ‘the spiritual lung of humanity’ (AM 13), it is also true that ‘fidelity to the proclamation of the gospel’ remains a challenge. For the gospel is the true source of peace and justice. At the birth of Jesus the angels sang ‘peace on earth’ (Lk 2:14), and at the end of his life Jesus reassured his disciples: ‘Peace I leave you, not as the world gives’ (Jn.14:27). If peace and justice have to be ‘built’, it is on the foundation which is Christ that this building will be done (1 Cor 3:11). How to set about it? For each local church to decide! That is our prayer, all this month, with the Pope, for Africa.
Fr. Rigobert Kyungu, sjNational Secretary of the Apostleship of Prayer, Democratic Republic of Congo
Dear young friends, it is worth wagering one’s life on Christ and on the Gospel, risking everything for great ideals!