Upbeat Papal Nuncio enthused by new opportunities to evangelise


The Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Charles Balvo, is upbeat about the changing role of the Church.

“There are new opportunities to evangelise right in front of us”, he observed enthusiastically after visiting the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

During his visit, he found himself alongside Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge aboard a helicopter flying high above a new residential community on the Sunshine Coast.

He was impressed by the scale of the development – and the potential for church mission in the community that will be part of the Caloundra parish.

“There are going to be 50,000 more people living there. I mean it’s a real expansion,” he said.

“So they’re going to build a (Catholic) school and there will be space there, eventually, for a church.

“There are going to be new opportunities to evangelise.”

In his role as Pope Francis’ Australian representative, Balvo said the Church must look for new ways to spread the Gospel message in the many new suburbs that are growing across the Brisbane Archdiocese.

“One thing Pope Francis has promoted is missionary discipleship for everyone. The missionaries are ourselves in our societies.

“There are a lot of new ways of preaching the Gospel to people who have just found other things in their life, other values.”

Balvo highlighted the power of personal witness as a way of attracting people to Church through the message of the Gospel.

“Certainly, that involves not only preaching but also by charitable action and helping people who are in need, accompanying them on their journey,” he said.

It is important for the Church to “promote and try new means to teach people about the important value of a life of faith”, he said.

It’s important because of a growing and popular belief that “Life is good, so you don’t need God”.

During his week-long visit to Brisbane Archdiocese, Balvo also visited the Holy Spirit seminary at Banyo and spent time with seminarians there.

In addition, he met staff and volunteers at the Emmanuel City Mission, a South Brisbane outreach service and daytime sanctuary for those experiencing homelessness.

Balvo said he was impressed by the multicultural face of the Church in Brisbane as he visited schools and churches on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and Ipswich.

Balvo is a former Papal Nuncio to New Zealand.


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