Luxembourg cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has urged the local Church “to become a laboratory of the future” that answers society’s questions “with the eternally young message of the Gospel”.
Driving the news
Hollerich, who was made cardinal by Pope Francis just last October 5, wrote an Advent letter to parishioners on the occasion next year of the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Diocese of Luxembourg.
In that message, the archbishop looked forward to the celebrations in 2020 under the theme “Church Together”.
It is a jubilee, Hollerich said, that has been made possible only by “the witness of individual faith as well as by the life of communities and institutions”.
In these 150 years of the Church in Luxembourg, Hollerich recalled, “many impulses have been launched by ecclesial or Church organizations, by pastoral zeal or simply our way of being Christian”.
“It goes without saying that this evolution has known ups and downs, heroic feats and failures, harmonious periods and times of confrontation between Church and society”, the cardinal admitted.
But Hollerich warned that the “significant impact on the spiritual, intellectual and cultural life of the country” that the Luxembourg Church has enjoyed up until now “we will no longer see in the future”.
“Throughout the past, we have formed a community of destiny with people from the same sociological group in the same country. The sociological milieu was favorable to this Church. Today it is no longer the same”, the cardinal cautioned.
“And moreover, in the first 100 years of existence of our diocese, the number of residents was equivalent to the number of faithful; this is no longer true today”.
Why it matters
In the world today, “Christians have become a minority”, Hollerich continued in his letter.
“In addition, we live in a world that is changing rapidly and radically, even dramatically, thanks to pluralism, individualism and the digitalization of society”.
But, the cardinal said, those realities “should not destabilize us and prevent us from confessing our faith with a happy heart”.
“Often so-called minorities have brought new energy to society”, he reflected.
Inviting his “little flock” to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”, Hollerich urged the faithful to “enter our diocesan jubilee year with confidence and gratitude”.
Expressing his thanks to the organisers of the anniversary celebrations, the cardinal also extended a special invitation to get involved in helping society’s marginalised people.
That was particularly through two projects close to the cardinal’s heart: the welcome to Luxembourg of two refugee families from the island of Lesbos and the construction of a new foyer for the disabled at the Tricente-Heisdorf.
Reflecting once again on the 150th jubilee theme, “Church Together”, Hollerich said Catholics “must widen our gaze towards a Church which does not exist for itself, but which is called to sow the seeds of faith in the fields of the future, sharing the joys, the hopes, the sorrows and the fears of the men and women of our time”.
“Shouldn’t the church community become a laboratory of the future starting from the questions of men and women, confronting them with the eternally young message of the Gospel?”, the cardinal asked.
“This authoritative message can provide important pointers for today and tomorrow”.
“Indeed, we must always ask ourselves the following questions: ‘What is the centre of our faith and of our way of doing Church together? What do we keep and what do we mourn?'”, the cardinal continued.
Hollerich concluded his letter echoing the invitation of Pope Francis “to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, to develop a ‘Sensus fidei’ and to initiate new paths” in the Church.