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Monday, May 25, 2015

Francis prays with the Pentecostal evangelical pastors of Phoenix for the unity of the Church

Vatican City, 24 May 2015 (VIS) – The diocese of Phoenix, U.S.A., has organised a day of dialogue and prayer, on the eve of Pentecost, with a group of evangelical pastors of Pentecostal orientation, including the Italian Giovanni Traettino, whom Pope Francis visited during his trip to Caserta. The Holy Father participated with a video message, screened yesterday afternoon at the opening of the meeting (during the night in Europe), ample extracts of which are given below:

“'Father, may we be one so that the world may believe you sent me'. This is the slogan, the theme of the meeting: Christ’s prayer to the Father for the grace of unity. Today, Saturday … I will be with you spiritually and with all my heart. We will search together, we will pray together, for the grace of unity. The unity that is budding among us is that unity which begins under the seal of the one Baptism we have all received. It is the unity we are seeking along a common path. It is the spiritual unity of prayer for one another. It is the unity of our common labour on behalf of our brothers and sisters, and all those who believe in the sovereignty of Christ. Dear brothers and sisters, division is a wound in the body of the Church of Christ. And we do not want this wound to remain open. Division is the work of the father of Lies, the father of Discord, who does everything possible to keep us divided.

“Together today, I here in Rome and you over there, we will ask our Father to send the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and to give us the grace to be one, 'so that the world may believe'. I wish to say something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps. But there is someone who 'knows' that, despite our differences, we are one. It is he who is persecuting us. It is he who is persecuting Christians today, he who is anointing us with (the blood of) martyrdom. He knows that Christians are disciples of Christ: that they are one, that they are brothers! He doesn’t care if they are Evangelicals, or Orthodox, Lutherans, Catholics or Apostolic … he doesn’t care! They are Christians. And that blood (of martyrdom) unites. Today, dear brothers and sisters, we are living an 'ecumenism of blood'. This must encourage us to do what we are doing today: to pray, to dialogue together, to shorten the distance between us, to strengthen our bonds of brotherhood.

“I am convinced it will not be theologians who bring about unity among us. Theologians help us, the science of the theologians will assist us, but if we hope that theologians will agree with one another, we will reach unity the day after Judgement Day. The Holy Spirit brings about unity. Theologians are helpful, but most helpful is the goodwill of us all who are on this journey with our hearts open to the Holy Spirit! In all humility, I join you as just another participant on this day of prayer, friendship, closeness and reflection. In the certainty that we have one Lord: Jesus is the Lord. In the certainty that this Lord is alive: Jesus is alive, the Lord lives in each one of us. In the certainty that He has sent the Spirit He promised us so that this 'harmony' among all His disciples might be realised”.

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