Pray at Pentecost for courage to evangelize, Pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Christians should pray at Pentecost for the Holy Spirit to give them courage and strength to share the Gospel, Pope Francis has said.

“No matter how difficult the situation – and indeed at times it may seem that there is no room for the Gospel message – we must not give up and we must not give up the pursuit of what is essential in our Christian life, namely evangelization,” the pope said May 24, the Wednesday before Pentecost.

Taking the example of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, the 19th-century Korean martyr, Pope Francis continued his weekly general audience talks on “zeal” to evangelize.

With thousands of visitors and pilgrims – including bands, flag-whirlers and dancers – gathering in sunny St. Peter’s Square, the pope introduced his St. Korea 200 years before Saint Andrew by lay people. who had heard the gospel proclaimed in China and then shared it on their way home.

“The baptized lay people were those who spread the faith. There were no priests,” the pope said. “Would we be able to do something like that?

Ordained in 1844, St. Andrew Kim Taegon was the first Korean-born priest and ministered during a time of anti-Christian persecution.

Pope Francis has recounted how, while the saint was still a seminarian, he was sent to welcome missionaries who snuck into the country from abroad. After walking far in the snow, “he fell to the ground exhausted, in danger of losing consciousness and freezing. At that time, he suddenly heard a voice: ‘Get up, walk!’ »

“This experience of the great Korean witness makes us understand a very important aspect of apostolic zeal: namely, the courage to get up when we fall,” the pope said.

“Each of us might think, ‘But how can I evangelize?’ “, he said. Like the “greats” in the history of evangelization, every Christian can find a way to witness to the Gospel — “to talk about Jesus” — in his family, among friends and in his local community.

“Let us prepare to receive the Holy Spirit this coming Pentecost, asking for this grace, this apostolic grace and this courage, the grace to evangelize, to always carry the message of Jesus.”

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