Vatican City, 18 February 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to the faithful of Brazil on the occasion of the 52nd Campaign for Fraternity in Brazil, organised annually by the Episcopal Conference during Lent. The theme of this year's Campaign is “Fraternity: Church and Society”.
“We are nearing Lent, the time of preparation for Easter: a time of penance, prayer and charity, a time to renew our lives, to identify with Jesus through generous donation to our brothers, especially those most in need”, writes the Pope. “Indeed, the Church, the community in which 'God gathered together as one all those who in faith look upon Jesus as the author of salvation and the source of unity and peace', cannot be indifferent to the needs of those she encounters, as 'the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted … are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ'”.
Francis mentions in his message that during these forty days, the Campaign for Fraternity wishes to help deepen, in the light of the Gospel, dialogue and collaboration between Church and society, to serve the construction of the Kingdom of God in the heart and life of the Brazilian people. He underlines, however, that this is not the exclusive task of institutions: all people must contribute, starting in their own home, their own workplace, and in relations with others. “Let us recall that each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and come to their aid”.
The Holy Father encourages an “examination of conscience” on the “concrete and effective commitment of each one of us in the construction of a more just, fraternal and peaceful society”. He concludes, “I hope that this year's Lenten journey, in the light of the proposals of the Campaign for Fraternity, may predispose hearts to the new life offered to us by Christ, and that the transformative power that flows from the Resurrection reaches everyone in its pastoral, family, social and cultural dimension, and strengthens sentiments of fraternity and lively collaboration in every heart”.