(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with the bishops, priests, religious and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Genoa and the whole region of Liguria on Saturday, during the course of a one-day pastoral visit.
The questions from clergy and religious came from two secular priests, Don Andrea Carcasole and Don Pasquale Revello: the President of the Italian Union of Women Religious Superiors for the Liguria Region; and Fr. Andrea Caruso, O.F.M. Cap.
Their queries focused on the search for ways to maintain hope and nourish the interior life of faith in today’s frenetic world – and the Holy Father’s responses centered on the imitation of Christ, the fostering of a sense of fraternity among the clergy and of genuine diocesan ecclesial unity, and the cultivation of a rich, mission-focused interior life of prayer.
“What we want,” said Pope Francis, “is pastoral conversion, missionary conversion.”
The Pope also condemned the practice – diffuse in Latin America and at one time not too long ago present also in Italy and other places, of encouraging poor young women to join a religious congregation as novices – often in order to shore up diminishing numbers – and then to abandon the girls and young women for whom religious life is not their calling.
“It is a scandal,” said Pope Francis.
“Work [to foster vocations – (It. lavoro vocazionale)] is difficult, but we must do it,” he said. “It is a challenge,” Pope Francis continued. “We need to be creative.”