New papal document provides practical help for parishes

Cardinal Cupich, others praise ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ for addressing spiritual hunger

Parishes and individual Catholics will find much wisdom in Pope Francis new exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), a document many say is practical, accessible and applicable to the challenges in todays U.S. church and society.

Calling it one of the most important magisterial documents on holiness since Vatican II, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich said the pope has given Catholics an accessible guide to holiness that urges us in a very practical way to cultivate a disposition of mercy toward the other.

In particular, he hopes the documentsection on the Beatitudes would be adopted in church programs for adults and young people alike, from parish study groups, to RCIA, to marriage preparation.

Just as his reflection on 1 Corinthians in Amoris Laetitia offers practical insights for married couples and those preparing for marriage, so now a meditation on the Beatitudes in Gaudete will prove to be an enormously rich resource for Catholics at all stages of faith formation, Cupich told NCR in an email interview. 

Those who work in lay ministry, religious education and pastoral care in parishes and dioceses agree the document will be useful in their work, especially when they encounter push back from Catholics who see faith only as intellectual assent to a series of beliefs. 

Instead, in Gaudete et Exsultatereleased April 9, the pope stresses the importance of both prayer and action  specifically mentioning the plight of migrants  in discernment toward holiness that goes beyond merely following rules

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