Pope Francis Addresses Armenian Bishops on Pastoral Responsibility and Prayer

Featured & Cover Pope Francis Addresses Armenian Bishops on Pastoral Responsibility and Prayer

On the morning of Wednesday, February 28th, Pope Francis met with the members of the Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchal Church of Cilicia of the Armenians in a private audience. Due to health reasons, Monsignor Filippo Ciampanelli delivered the Pope’s speech, which centered on three key themes: the pitfalls of pastoral adultery among bishops, the significance of prayer, and the importance of vocational pastoral care.

Addressing the gathered bishops, Pope Francis expressed joy in welcoming them to Rome on the feast day of Saint Gregory of Narek, a Doctor of the Church. He reminded them of their role as successors of the Apostles, entrusted with guiding the people of God towards Jesus Christ. Emphasizing the responsibility of the Synod in selecting future bishops, he urged careful consideration to ensure they prioritize pastoral devotion over personal ambition, cautioning against those motivated by self-interest or career advancement.

The Pope warned against the dangers of “pastoral adultery,” likening it to a bishop viewing their episcopal position as a mere stepping stone to higher status. He stressed that bishops are chosen by Christ to shepherd His flock, emphasizing the need for closeness and pastoral care, particularly for those in diaspora and remote areas. He underscored the importance of fraternity and cooperation with the Armenian Apostolic Church, highlighting pastoral charity as paramount.

In the spirit of Lent, Pope Francis called for contemplation of the cross and urged intercession for all, quoting Saint Gregory of Narek’s prayer for forgiveness and mercy towards enemies. He urged the bishops to emulate Saint Gregory the Illuminator’s example of bringing Christ’s light to the Armenian people, emphasizing their role as witnesses to Christian prophecy in a world marked by darkness and division.

The Pope stressed the significance of prayer in discerning the Gospel’s priorities and maintaining harmony within the Church. He urged thorough preparation for Synods, prudent decision-making for the good of souls, and transparent financial management. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of fostering vocations grounded in authentic Christian life and supporting priests, especially amidst challenges, with fraternal communion and joyful service.

Expressing concern for Armenia amidst conflicts and displacement, Pope Francis called for prayers for peace and solidarity with those affected. He lamented the continuation of wars despite past efforts for peace, urging collective action and prayer for reconciliation. Before concluding, he led the gathering in a prayer of mercy and forgiveness, expressing gratitude for their ministry and requesting prayers for himself.

Pope Francis reiterated his call for prayer, expressing hope for future unity with the Armenian Apostolic Church. He imparted his blessing and recited a prayer of Saint Nerses the Gracious, inviting all present to join him in seeking mercy and forgiveness for all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Related Stories