For Canada's newest cardinal, walking with poor is part of evangelization

(Photo: REUTERS / Max Rossi)Newly elected cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Canada walks after receiving the biretta during a consistory ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican February 22, 2014. Pope Francis installed 19 new Roman Catholic cardinals from around the world on Saturday.

Canada's newest Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix grew up in the United States and served as a missionary in South America for nine years.

Evangelization is his passion and he says walking with the poor is integral to it, and to carry it out the Church must have presence.

At 56 years old, he is the second-youngest cardinal in this most recent meeting of the College of Cardinals, after 55-year-old Cardinal Chibly Langlois of Haiti.

"I'm very involved in the New Evangelization," Cardinal Lacroix, who was born in Canada said in an interview with Vatican Radio.

La Croix lived in the United States for 11 years before returning to Quebec at the age of 19. In 1975, he entered the Pius X Secular Institute and was ordained a priest in 1988.

"That's what makes my heart tick: to share the Gospel of the Lord and to bring people to encounter Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and bringing people to him is my life."

Vatican Radio asked the cardinal if he saw this evangelization was a way to counter the "tsunami of secularization" in the world.

The cardinal said that many people think the Church needs to be restructured.

"But the biggest change has to come in my heart and in yours," he said.

"It's the mission that comes first," he continued. "We often say the Church has a mission. But I think we could also say, the mission has a Church."

On evangelization Cardinal Lacroix said a lot of people think it is going out with "just a Bible under your arms and you preach."

While conceding that Catholics have been rather poor at the biblical part of evangelizing, it is definitely on part of it.

"But also and the Pope stresses that in his apostolic exhortation and his way of living - we also need to be close to the poor rand those who suffer and those who have felt excluded and outcast in the church.

"That needs to be done, not by preaching but by our way of living, our attitudes, the way we welcome people the away we walk with people to help them make sure they discover they are lovable We need a lot of presence."

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