In his prayer intention video for February, Pope Francis asks parishes to truly be communities – places of listening and welcome whose doors are always open to all, no one excluded. Source: Vatican News.
In the video, which begins with an image of the outside of a beautiful but empty parish church, followed by that of the same church full of people, Pope Francis notes that every parish should put a sign on their door saying, “free admission”.
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer network explained that with these words Pope Francis wants to remind people there are no special requirements for entering, because, as he says, “parishes are not a club for the few, which give a certain kind of social belonging”.
Indeed, in Pope Francis’ vision, parishes are “close-knit communities, without bureaucracy, people-centred — a place where the gift of the sacraments can be found.”
This idea is conveyed by the images of the video coming from parishes around the world, which show get-togethers, talks, the distribution of aid to those most in need, visits to the elderly and the sick, pageants, and internal or external events.
Pope Francis insists that parishes continue along the path of being a centre of welcome and listening: “They have to become once again schools of service and generosity, with their doors always open to those who are excluded. And to those included. To all.”
Parishes can succeed, the Pope says, by being “daring”: rethinking “the style of our parochial communities” and “placing communion – communion of people, ecclesial communion – at the centre.”
Pope’s February prayer intention: For parishes to be open communities (Vatican News)