Pope Benedict visits a parish in his diocese a few times a year as any good bishop would do. Yesterday, Gaudete Sunday, he visited the parish community of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Here are few paragraphs of the Pope’s homily.

Benedict XVI, St Maximilian Kolbe Church Dec 12 2010.jpg

Together with all of you I
admire this new church and the parish buildings and with my presence I desire
to encourage you to realize in an ever better way the Church of living stones
that you yourselves are
. I know the many and significant efforts at
evangelization that you are engaged in. I exhort all of the faithful to make
your own contribution to the building up of the community, in particular in the
field of catechesis, the liturgy and charitypillars of the Christian life
— in communion with the whole Diocese of Rome. No community can live as a cell
that is isolated
from the diocesan context; it must rather be a living
expression of the beauty of the Church that, under the bishop’s leadership —
and in the parish, under the pastor’s leadership — walks in communion toward
the Kingdom of Heaven

Your community includes within it many families who have come from central and southern Italy in search of work and better conditions of life. With the passing of time the community has grown and it has changed in part with the arrival of many people from Eastern Europe and other countries. Precisely starting from this concrete situation of the parish you must try to grow evermore in communion with everyone: it is important to create occasions of dialogue and to promote mutual understanding between persons from different cultures, models of life and social conditions. But it is above all necessary to help them become involved in the Christian life through care that is attentive to the real needs of each person. Here, as in every parish, it is necessary to leave those who are “near” to reach out to those who are “far away,” to bring an evangelical presence to the realms of life and work. All must be able to find in the parish adequate paths of formation and experience that communal dimension that is a fundamental characteristic of Christian life. In this way they are encouraged to rediscover the beauty of Christ and of being part of his Church.

Know, then, how to form a community with everyone, united in listening to the Word of God and in the celebration of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. In this respect the diocesan pastoral verification that is underway on the theme “Sunday Eucharist and the Witness of Charity” is a propitious occasion to reflect upon and better live these two fundamental components of the life and mission of the Church and of every individual believer, that is, the Sunday Eucharist and the practice of charity. Gathered around the Eucharist we more easily feel that the mission of every Christian community is that of bringing the message of God’s love to all men. This is why it is important that the Eucharist always be at the heart of the life of the faithful.

Pope Benedict XVI

Saint Maximilian Kolbe Church

The Diocese of Rome

12 December 2010