Sunday, February 25, 2024

Bishop Hanke: Believers should build the church on a small scale

Bishop Hanke: New structures are no guarantee for a new spirit -

Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstätt has called on the faithful to follow the example of missionaries in times of increasing de-Christianisation. 

According to his press office, Hanke said on Saturday in Eichstätt that secularisation in Western societies is affecting all forms of church life. 

"People are quite content without God, life is also possible without him." 

The result: "Christianity is melting away." 

Believers should not react by mourning past times. Instead, a look at the missionary movement can help. Missionaries built "wells of life-giving water". 

People then and now drew the Good News of Jesus from it, explained the bishop. In this they then discovered the light of Christ in this world: "on the face of their neighbour, in the small and large events of life, in their needs, in their own hearts, in his Church".

Hanke encouraged the faithful to build "church in small ways", for example in spiritual communities or in the cultivation of Christian customs. 

Above all, they should be inviting to other people as door openers for the Gospel: "Inviting, kind people with deep roots in faith and in the Church attract other people," said the bishop. Hanke commented on the feast of St Walburga, the patron saint of Eichstätt diocese (around 710-779). 

Walburga was the sister of the first bishop of Eichstätt, St Willibald, as well as St Wunibald, the first abbot of Heidenheim Abbey in Middle Franconia. 

In 761, Walburga established a women's monastery in Heidenheim in addition to the existing men's convent.