Pope at Audience: Your First Name Is “I Am a Christian,” Last Name “I Belong to the Church”

Says Identity of All Christians Is One of Membership

VATICAN CITY, June 25, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Pope Francis has said that no Christian should feel isolated because all faithful belong to the family of the Church, which sustains and supports its members.

Continuing his series of catecheses on the theme of the Church, the Pope exclaimed to the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square at this morning’s General Audience that: “We are not isolated” and “We are not Christians as individuals, each to his own: our identity is membership!”

The Holy Father reminded faithful that in the Old Testament, God gathered a people to himself. As time went on, he sent his beloved Son to the world to establish the Church and to unify humanity, Francis added.

“God calls each of us to belong to this great family,” he stressed. “None of us become Christians on our own; we owe our relationship with God to so many others who passed on the faith, who brought us for Baptism, who taught us to pray and showed us the beauty of the Christian life: our parents and grandparents, our priests, religious and teachers.”

Our relationship with Christ is personal, but it is not private, the Pope said. Therefore, believers must realize not only that “we are Christians because of others,” but also that we are to “live together with others,” because the communion of the Church enriches our relationship with Jesus.

Although the “shared pilgrimage” is not always easy, he told those gathered in the rainy square, that in the fellowship of the Church, one can persevere and grow in faith and holiness.

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