Missionaries must build bridges with others and bring hope

Missionaries must build bridges with others and bring hope Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with Pope Francis

Missionaries are entrusted with building bridges with Muslims and protecting human rights, Pope Francis told a group of missionaries this week in the Vatican.

In a meeting with the Consolata Missionaries, he said they are also charged with bringing hope to poor Christian communities.

Pope Francis encouraged them to push beyond the boundaries of their missionary activity by defending the dignity of women and family values.

Founded by Blessed Giuseppe Allamano, both the men’s and women’s congregations aim to evangelise in remote areas of the world and form Christian communities.

They carry out their mission by being with marginalised and abandoned people, comforting the suffering and the afflicted, caring for the sick, defending human rights and promoting justice and peace.

“An increasing awareness” of God’s mercy, he said, can help them carry out their mission.

“It is much more important to be aware of how much we are loved by God, than of how we love him ourselves”.

A journey of the “progressive rediscovery of divine mercy,” the Pope said, can help consecrated men and women imitate Christ’s virtues in their missionary work.

“This will enable you to be actively present in the new arenas of evangelisation, favouring – even if this may lead to sacrifices – openness toward situations that, with their particular needs, reveal themselves to be emblematic for our time.

Pope Francis encouraged them to continue along the path of Blessed Allamano, who served those in need with generosity and hope.

“May your missionary consecration always be a source for the life-giving and sanctifying encounter with Jesus and with his love, wellspring of consolation, peace and salvation for all humanity,” he said.

Consolata missionaries want to bring the world true consolation, which is found in Jesus and his Gospel, according to the order’s website.