Today I offer my prayerful good wishes to Pope Francis as he celebrates the tenth anniversary of his election as Pope. I thank God for his ministry which, building on that of his predecessors, brings us face to face with the promise, hope, and challenge of following Christ. His witness – in both word and deed – has brought into sharp focus Christ’s closeness to those on life’s periphery, and calls on the Church – all of us who are baptised – to re-discover the mission that lies at the heart of the Christian life.
With a striking directness and simplicity, Pope Francis continues to challenge us not to be closed in on ourselves, seeing things only from our own perspective, but to reach out, to welcome the Lord who comes to us, to welcome our sisters and brothers left behind by the unfairness of life, and to proclaim the gospel to a world hungry for that which will endure. In underlining – again and again – the gift that is our faith, he leads us away from life-sapping negativity, away from ‘indoctrinating’ the gospel, making of it ‘dead stones to be hurled at others’ – and towards our true mission of putting flesh on “the healing power of grace and the light of the Good News” (see Amoris Laetitia, n. 49).
By encouraging us to embark on the synodal path he asks of the whole community to participate in discernment, pastoral decision-making and offering advice on how best to act in this new world which opens up before us. He asks us to move beyond a pyramidal way of looking and being Church, and to embrace, and make our own, the way of being Church as discerned by the Second Vatican Council. His synodal approach will enable a transformation of the Church into a dynamic community of missionary disciples, not just for our own sake, but for the sake of the whole, for the sake over every creature that shares this wonderful Earth – our Common Home.
Archbishop of Dublin