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On this World Day of Prayer, we reflect on Pope Francis’ prayer intention for this month: “That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.”
Pope Francis has encouraged parishes to be an ‘oasis of mercy,’ and to be missionary: looking out to all sorts of people both in the area, and in the wider world. Both are linked.
We reach out to people with the message of Christ from our conviction that the message is the mercy of God. This is the outreach of the Trinity to the world. God ‘weeps’ over our needs: the loss of meaning of people in the developed world.
The mercy of God hears the needs of millions for food and shelter, and the cries of the refugees on seas far away and in houses up the road. Can we feel also the compassion of the Trinity?
Our prayer this month will open our hearts to be merciful, for mercy, according to Pope Francis, is the ‘heartbeat of the gospel.’
Father Donal Neary SJ
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Ireland)