20-October-2013 -- Vatican Information Service |

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THE METHOD OF THE CHRISTIAN MISSION IS NOT PROSELYTISM: IS IS SHARING THE FLAME OF FAITH

Vatican City, 20 October 2013 (VIS) - In his greetings after the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father mentioned that today is World Missionary Day, and commented that the "mission" of the Church is "to spread throughout the world the flame of faith, which Jesus ignited in the world: faith in God who is the Father, Love and Mercy. The method of the Christian mission is not proselytism, but rather the sharing of a flame that warms the soul. ... On this Day we are close to all missionaries who work tirelessly and quietly, and who give their lives".

Among them, he continued, was the Italian Afra Martinelli, killed a few days ago in Nigeria during a robbery. "Everyone mourned for her, Christians and Muslims. They cared for her greatly", he continued. "She proclaimed the Gospel with her life, with the work she carried out, an education centre; in this way, she spread the flame of faith, she fought the good fight! ... I also think of Stefano Sandor, who was proclaimed Blessed in Budapest yesterday. He was a Salesian layperson, exemplary in his service to the young, in oratory and in professional instruction. When the Communist regime closed down all Catholic works, he faced persecution with courage, and was killed at thirty-nine years of age. We join in giving thanks to the Salesian Family and the Hungarian Church".

He expressed his closeness to the Philippine population, struck by a serious earthquake, and invited prayer for "that dear Nation, which has recently suffered several calamities". He also warmly greeted the organisers of the event "100 Metres of Racing in the Faith", promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture, thanking them for reminding us that "the believer is an athlete of the spirit". Finally, he mentioned that this Sunday Mother's Day i s celebrated in Argentina, and sent "an affectionate greeting to all mothers" in his country.

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