By Vatican News staff reporter
Some 20 Italian Bishops are holding a two-day meeting in the city of Benevento to seek ways to revitalize their pastoral care in areas facing depopulation, marginalization, and economic difficulty.
The Bishops hail from dioceses in Piedmont, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria.
As the event kicked off on Monday, Pope Francis sent a message to participants, urging them to set out with openness to “make all things new.”
Charity and communion
The Pope said the meeting can help the Bishops rediscover “communion and fraternity” and meet challenges together.
“Do not let yourselves be paralyzed by difficulties, individualism, and indifference that marks our times,” he wrote.
Rather, Christians should respond to these problems with “charity” and by “active engagement”, and not with “subdued disagreement with the lack of values in today’s society.”
Schools of service
He also urged Italian Bishops to overcome “nostalgia for the past” and take bold steps to be a consoling presence in places where hardships abound.
Parishes, he added, should become training centers for Christian life and “schools of service to others,” in such a way that humility and tenderness shine forth.
Pope Francis concluded the message expressing his appreciation for the initiative, which should help Bishops create projects and attitudes to help people discover “the love of the encounter with Jesus.”