His Holiness Pope Francis is urging the men and women religious of Spain to look to the future with “humble audacity” and to be “prophets of hope”. The Pontiff’s remarks came in a message sent on Tuesday to participants in the 25thGeneral Assembly of the Spanish Conference of Religious, known as CONFER.

As reported by Vatican news, His Holiness Pope Francis said no effort should be spared to better the mission of consecrated men and women in Spain. The Church, he continued, needs them to be prophets, “men and women of hope”.

The Pontiff said religious life is “full of opportunities, enthusiasm, and passion”, despite some uncertainties and concerns. These, he noted, include “fewer vocations, ageing members, economic problems, challenges posed by internationality and globalization, and the pitfalls of relativism, marginalization, and social irrelevance.”