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The Church
among the People

A people for everyone

Pope Francis

The central focus of Pope Francis’ ecclesial vision is seen in Evangelii Gaudium. It revolves around three principles: reviving the concept of Church as people of God, where all baptized faithful are protagonists in evangelization; turning the Church’s gaze outwards to dialogue, journey together, and encounter all, especially the poor; and communicate Christ not only in worship but through life. We offer here a few excerpts from the Document to illustrate these perspectives of the Church as an evangelizing presence in everyday life.

The parish: A community of communities

The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community. While certainly not the only institution which evangelizes, if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity it continues to be “the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters”. (Christifideles Laici 26). This presumes that it really is in contact with the homes and the lives of its people and does not become a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of a chosen few. The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. (Christifideles Laici