Pope Paul VI in officially summoning the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council to the second session reaffirmed Pope John’s intention that the council rejuvenate the Church “in its perennial vigor.”
Pope Paul sent identical letters to each of the Fathers — the bishops of the world and other participants such as abbots and superiors of major Religious congregations.
The text made public Sept. 16 was dated Sept. 14. The new Pontiff referred to the ecumenical council as the “majestic work” of Pope John XXIII. He said:
“You know the purpose of this council, which has more participants than any other: As it was expressed by our illustrious predecessor, the Church must appear in its perennial vigor, the instrument of salvation for all; to her Our Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted the deposit of the Faith, to be guarded faithfully and in an apt and convenient way.
“This energetic vigor of the Church, which illuminates, attracts, moves souls, can take new strength from the council, which meets at the tomb of St. Peter.”
For this reinvigoration of the Church, Pope Paul urged that the “wide diversity of forms of the apostolate be fostered,” and that members of the laity take part in this work.
He said the council is linked to “the Church’s solicitude to favor union among men, in the first place among those who profess themselves to be Christians, a solicitude expressed so well in those words of the Savior, ‘There shall be one fold and one shepherd’” (John 10, 16).
The Pope in his letter invited not only the bishops, but also the clergy and the Christian people to pray for the council and offer their works of piety for its success.
He asked especially that the sick, the infirm and little children pray for the general council.