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Synod Hall, 27 April 2017

Catholic Action’s charism is the charism of the Church herself

Address of Pope Francis to participants in the congress of the International Forum Of Catholic Action (IFCA)

Magisterium to IFCA

Last update: 20 March 2024


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I greet all of you on the occasion of this International Congress of Catholic Action, which has taken as its theme: “Catholic Action is Mission. With All and For All”. I would like to share with you some concerns and considerations.

Charism – rebirth in the light of Evangelii Gaudium

Historically, the mission of Catholic Action has been to form lay people to assume their specific responsibility in the world. Today, in effect, it is the formation of missionary disciples. I thank you for having decisively taken Evangelii Gaudium as your magna carta.

Catholic Action’s charism is the charism of the Church herself, profoundly incarnate in the here and now of every diocesan Church, as she attentively contemplates and discerns the life of her people and seeks new ways to evangelize and carry out her mission, beginning with the different parish situations.

Traditionally, Catholic Action has had four pillars or feet on which it moves: Prayer, Formation, Sacrifice and Apostolate. At different periods in its history, it has put one of these feet first and let the others follow. Thus, at a certain time, the stress was on prayer or formation in doctrine. Given the needs of the present time, the apostolate should be the distinctive feature and it should move first. Not to the detriment of the other realities, but on the contrary, to enable them to move forward too. The missionary apostolate calls for prayer, formation and sacrifice. This was clearly emphasized at Aparecida and in Evangelii Gaudium. In mission, there is always a movement towards integration.

Form: by offering a process of growth in faith, an ongoing mission-oriented catechetical programme adapted to every situation, based on the Word of God, with the aim of fostering a joyful friendship with Jesus and an experience of fraternal love.

Pray: with that holy “extroversion” that opens your hearts to other people’s needs, their sufferings and their joys – a prayer that makes you go forth and takes you far. In this way, you will avoid constant self-concern.

Sacrifice: not simply to feel more pure – a generous sacrifice is one that benefits others. Offer your time in trying to help others grow; offer what you have in your pockets and share it with those who have less; offer the gift of your personal vocation generously to embellish our common home and help it to grow.”….



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