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Convocation delegates urged to take Gospel to struggling people everywhere


  • Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, speaks July 3 during the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. Leaders from dioceses and various Catholic organizations gathered for the July 1-4 convocation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, speaks July 3 during the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. Leaders from dioceses and various Catholic organizations gathered for the July 1-4 convocation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Ansel Augustine, who works in campus ministry at St. John's University in New York, speaks during a July 3 panel discussion at the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. He previously served as director of the office of Black Catholic Ministries in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Carolyn Woo, former CEO of Catholic Relief Services, speaks July 3 during a panel discussion at the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. At right is Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, speaks July 3 during the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. Leaders from dioceses and various Catholic organizations gathered for the July 1-4 convocation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is greeted by Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas July 3 before the archbishop spoke during the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. Leaders from dioceses and various Catholic organizations gathered for the July 1-4 convocation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

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ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) -- Being Christian is more than accepting Jesus as savior, but requires the faithful to go to the peripheries of society where people are struggling materially and spiritually, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America."

"Jesus calls us to follow him. That is an action, a decision that implies a way of life," Archbishop Gomez said during a plenary session July 3, the third day of the convocation.

He said Pope Francis has focused the mission of the church on going to people on the sidelines of society, he said, calling it a responsibility not just for bishops, clergy and church professionals, but for the entire church.

The pope, the archbishop explained, sees the peripheries as both a physical place and existential. They are places that reflect a society that has determined that some people can be pushed aside or discarded.

"They are places on a map, places where people live. The peripheries are parts of our cities and the rural areas that we never visit. The other side of the tracks. They are where the poor live. They are the prisons and the tent cities in our public spaces. The peripheries are the bitter fruits of neglect, exploitation and injustice. They are all the places our society is ashamed of and would rather forget about," he said.

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