Cardinal Bergoglio’s Letter to the Catechists of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires | CWR StaffAn exclusive English translation of the future Pope Francis’ 2012 letter on evangelization and opening the doors of faith
Editor’s note: On August 21, 2012, the feast of St. Pius X, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio—now Pope Francis—published a letter to the catechists of his Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. This is an exclusive English translation of that letter.
“In those days, Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” (Lk 1:39)
It has been a custom now for many years that I write you a letter around the feast of Saint Pius X. In this way I wish to greet you on his day, thank you for your quiet, faithful work each week, for your ability to be Good Samaritans who offer hospitality out of faith, by being familiar faces and dear hearts that make it possible to transform, in some way, the anonymity of the big city.
This year, the day of the catechist finds us facing a grace-filled event that we are already starting to experience. Within two months begins the Year of Faith that our Pope Benedict XVI has declared “so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, 2).
It will certainly be a jubilee year. Hence the invitation that the same Pope extends to us to enter through the “Door of the Faith.” Entering through this door is a journey that lasts a lifetime, yet in this time of grace we are all called to renew it. Therefore from the bottom of my heart I exhort you in this year, as your pastor and as your brother, to strive to experience the present time with the transforming power of this event.
We all remember the invitation repeated so many times by Blessed John Paul II: “Open the doors to the Redeemer.” God is urging us once again: Open the doors to the Lord: the door of the heart, the doors of the mind, the doors of catechesis, of our communities... all the doors to the Faith.
In this opening of the door of faith there is always a free and personal Yes: a Yes that is a response to God that takes the initiative and draws near to man so as to start a dialogue with him, in which the gift and the mystery are always made present.
A Yes that the Virgin Mother was able to give in the fullness of time, in that humble village of Nazareth, so that through this interaction the new and definitive covenant could begin what God had prepared, in Jesus, for all mankind.
It always does us good to turn to look at the Blessed Virgin. Even more so for those of us to whom is entrusted, in one way or another, the task of guiding the lives of many brethren, and thus united, to be able to say Yes to the invitation to believe.
But catechesis would be seriously compromised if our experience of faith were to leave us confined in and anchored to our familiar world or in the structures and spaces that we have been creating over the years.