Encourage Members to Respect Parishes and Liturgies

JERUSALEM, FEB. 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land wrote a letter welcoming the Neocatechumenal Way, giving indications for its work in the area.

"Brothers and sisters of the Way: You are welcome in our dioceses," the bishops wrote in their letter released Sunday. "We thank God for the grace the Lord has given you and for the charism that the Holy Spirit has infused in the Church through your ministry of post-baptismal formation.

"We are grateful for your presence in some of our parishes, for the preaching of the Word of God, for the help given to our faithful in deepening their faith and in rooting them in their own local church."

On Thursday, in a question-and-answer session with Roman clergy, Benedict XVI cited the Neocatechumenal Way as an example of much improved relationships between pastors and movements.

The Holy Father cited two rules for movements' growth: respect for the charism, and integration with and service of the Church.

The bishops' letter to the Neocatechumenate, signed by 11 prelates of various rites, recalled the importance of Eastern liturgies and parish-centered work.

"Your first duty ... is to root (the faithful) in the parishes and in their own liturgical traditions in which they have grown for generations," the bishops explained. "In the East, our liturgy and traditions are very important for us. It is the liturgy which has contributed much to preserve the Christian faith in our peoples in the course of history. The rite is like an identity document and not just a means of praying among others."

The bishops encouraged the members of the Neocatechumenate to learn the languages and cultures of the peoples of the Holy Land and to be mindful of the conflictive situation in which the faithful live.

"[I]n our countries -- Palestine, Israel, Jordan -- all are seeking peace and justice, a search that is an integral part of our life as Christians," the bishops stated. "All preaching should orient our faithful in the concrete attitudes they must assume in the different contexts of life and in the situation of conflict itself which continues in Palestine: attitude of forgiveness and love of one's enemy, on one hand, and on the other, exigency of one's rights, especially dignity, freedom and justice."

Code: ZE07022719

Date: 2007-02-27


Teachings of Christ

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica