11-January-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Prefect of Congregation for Eastern Churches Celebrates Year of Faith with Egyptian Christians

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri Emphasizes 'Renewed Missionary Impulse From the Year of Faith"

CAIRO, January 11, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, met with those responsible of apostolic events in Egypt during his visit to the country to celebrate the Year of Faith with the local Church. Cardinal Sandri spoke to the group in Cairo and commended them on their faithfulness and commitment to the Catholic community in Egypt.

"You are the ones who have made yourselves personally available to serve the Church and you have received the ecclesial task of committing yourselves, in faithfulness and constructive cooperation with pastors, so that the life of the Catholic community in Egypt may know how to efficiently announce the Son of God through sacramental life, catechesis, and charity-especially in charitable aid, in education, and in the concrete and daily service of our many brothers and sisters," the cardinal said.

The Italian prelate commented on the current difficulties faced by Christians in the area, inviting the faithful to not allow the "desert advance in our consciences and our hearts precisely while we are trying to advance the Gospel."

"Do not forget", he continued, "that the Son of God's intense days were preceded and followed by an even more intense dialogue with the Father. Let us also, dear friends, pause at the oasis of Elim spoken of in the book of Exodus so that, despite the serious worries that the present holds for Christians in the Middle East and in your own dear country, our faithfulness may be reinvigorated while embracing the beauty of friendship with God."

Cardinal Sandri went on to describe he meeting in Alexandria with the Egyptian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Italian prelate also noted the recent construction of a church in Sharm el-Sheikh which he described as "an exception example of Christian charity."

"Many contributed generously: the area's ecclesial community, the Pontifical Representation, and some assistance agencies belonging to ROACO (Reunion of Organizations for Aid to the Oriental Churches) of which the prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches is president," Cardinal Sandri said.

"We cannot nor do we want to forget Egypt's secular tradition: the heights of religiousness and culture that it has now and which must be confirmed in the present and the future: a culture ever open to the revelation of God."

"Safeguarding and cultivating the faith," he continued, "in the cultural arena constitutes a privileged part of our pastoral mission and, perhaps, collaboration between the various centers that have for some time inspired the apostolic and missionary activity of this nation should be incentivized."

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches concluded his discourse by entrusting the objectives of the Year of Faith to those responsible for apostolic events. Among the objectives, Cardinal Sandri emphasized a "renewed missionary impulse from the Year of Faith."

"The ability to profess one's own creed must be guaranteed to everyone without exception, and thus also to Christians," he stressed.

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