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Cardinal Sako Talks to Chaldean Clergy About Social Media, Pastoral Outreach
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The Church and her pastors, who are entrusted with the task of communicating the message to the People of God, must find "a new approach" to "fulfill this important mission", starting with "social media," says the Chaldean primate, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, in a message to the clergy currently (17-19 September) meeting in Ankawa, a Christian area north of Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

In the letter, which was sent to AsiaNews, the cardinal calls for the use of a liturgy that is "expressive, understandable and destined to become an occasion of grace" and "fountain of life" for the faithful.

Chaldean bishops and priests are attending the Patriarchal Synod, including the auxiliaries of Baghdad, Mgr Shlemon Warduni and Basilius Yaldo, as weel as the Archbishop of Erbil Mgr Bashar Warda and the Bishop Rabban al-Qas of Amadiya and Zākho.

Before the meeting started, Mgr Warduni read the message of the Chaldean patriarch who set out guidelines and highlighted some points of discussion for priests and bishops to share views and proposals.

One of Card Sako's priorities is the search for new ways to carry out pastoral outreach, especially for young people and families at a time of deep historical and social crisis.

This work, he adds, must focus on the next Synod dedicated to Youth, faith and vocational discernment in Rome on 3-28 October, which Pope Francis pushed for.

"Today the Church should be more aware of its inclusive role," the prelate writes. "She must do it by observing, listening, analysing, interacting and answering the increasingly pressing questions of her people."

"Various pastoral activities" must be added to this. They must be integrated to listening and reflection. Otherwise, there is a risk is that the institution will end up becoming rigid and inward-looking and no longer able to provide real help to her people.

Bishops and priests must take care of people and contribute to achieving the objectives of "social justice, equality and peace". To this end, the Church, wherever she is, "must pay full attention to the reality of her people -- their worries, fears, and aspirations -- and fill life with "firm determination".

The Chaldean patriarch invites the participants to make "serious and useful suggestions" that can answer the questions "of the current situation" and extol "the leadership that is asked from us as pastors, at a time of great difficulty".

For Card Sako, it is important at the meeting to deepen "some topics that are central to our mission and our pastoral work, as bishops and as priests."

Even the liturgy cannot be a "robotic repetition" of empty words or a cold teaching mechanism "of the principles of faith" if it is not accompanied by work of understanding and bearing witness through works.

"The Gospel is a project of life, a message of hope and we, as guardians of the faith, must be prepared to guarantee the continuity of the Church's teachings" and adapt them to the evolving current social, economic, political and psychological context.



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