Pope Francis has released his prayer intention for February focussed on ‘the Parish’. Encouraging parishes to be “generous and open to all” Pope Francis warned against being an exclusive club “for the few”.

The message is clear throughout the video, there are “no special requirements for entering our churches”. All are welcome should be a sign on the door of each church.

Pope Francis went further as he recognised the danger as we face having beautiful but empty churches. He encouraged the local church to be daring and generous in their efforts to serve the local community and reach out to those who are not currently part of our parish communities.

This prayer intention echoes Pope Francis Apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, where he said

“the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters”, and therefore should not become “a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of a chosen few”.