Vatican City, 14 March 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience members of the “Seguimi” (“Follow Me”) lay community, on the 50th anniversary of its foundation. “The gesture, symbolic and intensely spiritual, of the first members to depart from the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, demonstrate this wish, that you have expressed in the statutory form of your programme of life: 'Jesus Christ lives at the centre of Seguimi'. This is beautiful. … I encourage you to live according to this programme every day, with commitment; that is, to be decentred from yourselves and to place your vital centre in the living Person of Jesus. Yours is a form of evangelical life that is practised in a context of laicism and liberty. A programme of Christian life for laypeople, with clear and demanding objectives, an original way of incarnating the Gospel, an effective way of walking the world”.
Francis encouraged them to “conserve and develop this fraternal communion and exchange of gifts, aimed at the human and Christian growth of all, along with creativity, optimism, joy and the courage to go – when appropriate – against the grain. Be vigilant in your spiritual path and help each other to practice spiritual charity, which means defending yourselves against individualistic selfishness in order to be true witnesses to the Gospel”.
“As laypeople, you are immersed in the world and are occupied within earthly situations to serve the good of man. You are required to permeate with Christian values the environments in which you work with your witness and word, meeting people in their concrete situations, so that they have full dignity and are reached by Christ's salvation”. The Pope concluded by urging them to be “laypeople on the front line”, to “feel like an active part of the Church's mission, to live your secularity dedicating yourself to the situations typical of the earthly city: the family, the professions, social life in its various expressions. In this way you are able, as a leaven, to bring the spirit of the Gospel into the folds of history with your witness of faith, hope and charity”.