the Reverend Monsignor
Founder of the “Communion and Liberation” Movement
1. I share intensely in the joy of the Fraternity of “Communion and Liberation,” on the twentieth anniversary of its recognition by the Pontifical Council for the Laity as an Association of Faithful of Pontifical Right. As early as 1954, dearest Monsignor Giussani, you initiated in Milan the “Communion and Liberation” Movement, which then spread to other parts of Italy and later also to other countries of the world. The Fraternity is the mature fruit of this Movement.
On this happy occasion of the twentieth anniversary, I am particularly pleased to review the significant steps in the ecclesial itinerary of the Movement, in order to thank God for what He has wrought through your initiative, Reverend Monsignor, and that of those who have joined hands with you over the years. It is a comfort to recall the events through which God’s action has manifested itself and to acknowledge together the greatness of His mercy.
2. As I go back in memory over the life and works of the Fraternity and the Movement, the first aspect that strikes me is the commitment you have put into listening to the needs of today’s man. Man never stops seeking: both when he is marked by the drama of violence, loneliness, and insignificance, and when he lives in serenity and joy, he continues to seek. The only answer which can satisfy him and appease this search of his comes from the encounter with the One who is at the source of his being and his action.
The Movement, therefore, has chosen and chooses to indicate not a road, but the road toward a solution to this existential drama. The road, as you have affirmed so many times, is Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, who reaches the person in his day-to-day existence. The discovery of this road normally comes about through the mediation of other human beings. Marked through the gift of faith by the encounter with the Redeemer, believers are called to become an echo of the event of Christ, to become themselves an “event”.
Christianity, even before being a sum of doctrines or a rule for salvation, is thus the “event” of an encounter. This is the insight and experience that you have transmitted in these years to so many persons who have adhered to the Movement. Communion and Liberation, more than offering new things, aims at helping people rediscover the Tradition and history of the Church, in order to express this in ways capable of speaking to and engaging the men of our time. In my Message to the Participants in the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities on May 27, 1998, I wrote that the originality of the charism of each movement “does not claim, nor could it, to add anything to the richness of the depositum fidei, safeguarded by the Church with impassioned fidelity” (no. 4). Yet this originality “constitutes a powerful support, a suggestive and persuasive reminder to live the Christian experience to the full, with intelligence and creativity. Herein lies the premise for finding adequate answers to the challenges and urges of the times and ever-changing historical circumstances” (ibid).
3. It is necessary to go back to Christ, the Word of God made flesh for the salvation of mankind. Jesus of Nazareth, who lived the human experience as no one else could have, posits Himself as the goal of every human aspiration. In Him alone can man achieve full self-knowledge.
Thus faith is shown to be an authentic adventure of cognition, for it is not an abstract discourse, nor a vague religious sentiment, but a personal encounter with Christ, which bestows new meaning on life. The work of education that in your activities and in your communities so many parents and teachers have striven to carry out has consisted precisely in accompanying brothers, children, and friends to discover in their affections, in work, in the diverse vocations, the voice that leads each one to the definitive encounter with the Word made flesh. Only in the only-begotten Son of the Father can man find a full, exhaustive answer to his intimate and fundamental expectations.
This permanent dialogue with Christ, nourished by personal and liturgical prayer, is a stimulus for an active presence in society, as the history of the Movement and the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation testifies. Yours is, really, also a history of works: works of culture, of charity, of formation, and–in respecting the distinction between the aims of the civil society and of the Church–it is also a history of engagement in the political field, a sphere by its very nature full of conflict, where it is at times hard to serve faithfully the cause of the common good.
4. In these twenty years, the Church has seen the birth and growth of many other movements, communities, and associations within herself. The strength of Christ’s Spirit never ceases to overcome, to break apart, as it were, the sedimentary schemes and forms of our former life, to push toward new unprecedented ways of expression. This push is the sign of the lively mission of the Church, in which Christ’s face is made visible through the features of the faces of men in every time and place of history. How can we not be astonished at these wonders of the Holy Spirit? He works marvels, and at the dawn of a new millennium He encourages the faithful to go out into the deep toward more and more distant frontiers in the building of the Kingdom.
Years ago, on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of Communion and Liberation, I happened to say to you: “Go into all the world and bring the truth, the beauty and the peace which are found in Christ the Redeemer” (Rome, September 29, 1984, no. 4). At the beginning of the third millennium of the Christian era, I forcefully and gratefully entrust to you once again the same mandate. I exhort you to cooperate with constant awareness in the mission of dioceses and parishes, courageously expanding their missionary action to the farthest edges of the world
May the Lord accompany you and make your striving fruitful. May Mary, the faithful Virgin and the Star of the New Evangelization, be your support and guide you on the path of an ever more daring faithfulness to the Gospel.
With these sentiments I am happy to impart to you, Monsignor Giussani, your collaborators, and all the members of the Fraternity, as well as those who adhere to the Movement, a special Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, February 11, 2002, on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes
Hohn Paul II
Milan, February 22, 2002
In our gratitude for this sign of great fatherhood from John Paul II, we are authoritatively aided to recognize the straight line that our history has followed. The Movement, the Holy Father wrote us, has chosen and chooses to indicate not a road, but the road toward a solution to this existential drama of man who never stops seeking. The road is Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, who reaches the person in his day-to-day existence. For this reason, a new beginning is now opening up for us: to demonstrate, to re-demonstrate the evidence of the truth of what, following the Tradition of the Church, we have always said to each other. As the Holy Father also wrote, Christianity, even before being a sum of doctrines or a rule for salvation, is the event of an encounter.
What an imposing work emerges from this letter! We are starting afresh, always! What has to happen is something new, an extremely weighty step in our history.
This is a moment of responsibility whose actions are made evident in time, as the urge to root in our existence the judgment of the Spirit, to which each of us can concur in an orderly and obedient manner or can resist as the claim of ones own carnality, which becomes the impossibility of defending serenity or fighting against the apparent destruction of what happens. Everything depends on a sereneand thus constructiveobedience on the part of our toil. This toil is at its origin a sacrifice that follows Christ, His death and His resurrection. To follow Christ, to love Christ in everything: this is what must be acknowledged as the principal characteristic of our journey.
This is why we must ask for a great clarity in the face of our responsibility. We must ask for clarity because the individual is responsible for the whole Fraternity in which he is immersed, whatever may be his current condition of health or sickness, of gladness or trial. Reflecting on this helps us to grasp the crucial value of our journey, especially in the work done in School of Community, through which each of us may find evidence of the reason for the miracle of his adherence. God prompts each one of us to be a vanguard for the mission.
The greatest example in this sense is given us by those among us who have been entrusted with the weightiest responsibilities, also in civil society, so that the newness that runs through our history may be manifest in them through their dedication to their service. And this newness is not judged primarily by the moral behavior of the individual, but by the sense of responsibility that each one feels in his service within the very community where God calls him. Given this, may the responsible seek in his action to offer a service of charity, because accepting the will of God is a reality that derives from recognition of His ultimate aim for the incrementation of the life of the entire community and of the Church. The charity of those who are responsible is, first and foremost, help offered to everyone in the fulfillment of their task toward the Mystery. This is the criterion of merit for every man who wants to be a brother to other men.
For this reason, the Popes letter concludes by relaunching us on our mission: the force of the mission becomes the force of martyrdom (witness). Let us embark on the future freely, even if others were not to accept what we are.
Let us pray to Our Lady for our miseries and for those of the world. Within the adventure of every day, the biggest sin is continuing to ignore Gods faithfulness to our history. Our Lady urges us to collaborate in the greatness of Gods plan of salvation for all our brother men.
Joining you with a heart full of adherence and strength, I feel that I am in my place with all of you.
Fr Luigi Giussani
The first reactions to the Popes letter received by the Editorial Office. From Italy and around the world
Even though it might seem banal, I think a comparison may be useful between the letter sent by the Holy Father for the twentieth anniversary of your recognition and analogous documents of recent years. In effect, we can point out from the beginning that twenty years is not a usual occasion for congratulations from the Holy See (25 and 50 are the norm). The letter contains a profound analysis, a detailed and warm explanation of the reasons for positivity, a non-generic approval of the genesis and the contents.
Nor should we underestimate the emphasis, in the preamble, on the initial activity promoted by Fr Luigi as early as 1954.
In the text, I particularly point out the mention of CLs insertion into the tradition, which is something quite different from a brilliant novelty of formulas and intents. Perhaps precisely this essentiality and this bond with the most ancient and genuine roots of the Catholic Church constitute the title of honor and Christian glory of the Movement.
This is a document that calls for deep meditation and one that brings to the CL world great spiritual joy.
Thank you for sharing it with me.
Giulio Andreotti, senator and Editor of 30 Days
Assimilating Ourselves to Christ
Dearest Fr Giussani:
I am writing these few lines to congratulate you on the beautiful letter the Holy Father sent you because of the twentieth anniversary of the recognition of the Statute of Communion and Liberation.
I think that behind this letter there lie many years of suffering and struggle against the common enemy. Slander, misunderstandings, friends who betray but behold, our true motive for glory: assimilating ourselves to the Crucified Christ.
I still treasure in my heart the time we ate together with the group of your most trusted co-workers in Milan. I was impressed by your goodness, humility, and love for me, who do not deserve it. I hope to be able to return to Milan soon to see you once again and so that we may console each other in Christ.
Pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she may intercede for me, a sinner.
Kiko Argüello, founder of the Neo-Catechumenal Movement
In the message sent to Msgr Giussani for the twentieth anniversary of the pontifical recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, the key passage seems to me to be acknowledgment of the commitment put into listening to the needs of todays man. Giussani has understood that man (in grief as in joy) never stops seeking. But he does not fall into the relativism of certain theology and reaches a conclusion that puts him in communion with Karol Wojtyla: the only answer that can satisfy man in this search comes to him from the encounter with Christ. This is why CL, the Pontiff recognizes, wants to point out not just any road, but precisely the road that aims at reaching the solution to the existential drama of man in perennial search. Faith, for Giussani, is not an abstract discourse, nor is it a vague religious feeling. The Pope appreciates one thing above all in Giussani: instead of offering new and fashionable things, he aims at setting up a dialogue between the tradition and history of the Church and the men of our time. The Gospel must be preached in a way that can speak to and engage mankind, but it must not be distorted with a political reading like that offered by liberation theology.
Pierluigi Battista, editorial writer for La Stampa
An Open Gaze
I imagine the joy that such a clear, strong, and loving message must have evoked. I do not dare to comment on it. Perhaps I can say a word or two as one who, in twenty years, has often encountered those of the encounter. It has always been surprising to me that those who lived an event that in the last analysis is so exclusive, had nonetheless a gaze open to others and indeed were disposed to think that whoever searches has in some sense already found. This is a faith that is so clearly little inclined to compromise with the common language, so little disposed to be dragged along by the current and widely accepted ethic, and yet smiling onto the world. The works that Communion and Liberation has generated in the social and political field resound with the echo of this spiritual core. Those who have ears to hear, hear it and are not surprised that this echo is often found in places and with interlocutors that are apparently disparate and unusual. The fact is (and this is also my wish for you!) that those who have found continue nonetheless to search and are capable every day, in dialogue, to be amazed and to amaze.
Pierluigi Bersani, responsible for economic policy of the Democratic Left Party
Man never stops seeking: both when he is marked by the drama of violence, loneliness, and insignificance, and when he lives in serenity and joy, he continues to seek. The only answer which can satisfy him and appease this search of his comes from the encounter with the One who is at the source of his being and his action.
Allow me to begin with these words, which effectively describe the eagerness of the Christian called to seek not a road but the road, the event that has upset the world order, overturning the logic of power and money to favor the poor, the pure in spirit, the last. It is a search that, for the believer, must be unending. I believe we must read the experience of Fr Giussani in this key: a constant search, with young people and for young people.
The Holy Fathers message to the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation is an invitation to continue with this commitment and along this path; to be, with the Church and for the Church, on mission alongside todays man, wherever he lives and works. Go into the world, the Pope says again, cooperate with constant awareness in the mission of the dioceses and parishes, courageously broadening missionary action to the farthest reaches of the world.
This is also the terrain of collaboration among the various expressions present in the Church: communities, movements, and associations, which here can find renewed stimulus also for dialogue with each other. I believe that in these years, the desire for communion among the Churchs various aggregations has grown; mutual esteem has grown; the willingness and need to know each other and to walk along together, respecting each others differences, have grown.
This is a reason for confidence, at the beginning of this millennium; it is a new responsibility that forcefully urges us onward.
Paola Bignardi, President, Catholic Action
My own encounter with CL was immediately an encounter between adults. And it was immediately an encounter with a person so forceful as to have no trouble calling it an event. This person was Giovanni Testori. But the second encounter that I had to live, the one with Fr Giussani whom Testori immediately took me to see, was special and as it were an encounter with destiny. From this encounter with Fr Giussani, I came away certain that I had missed a lot by encountering the Movement only after I was an adult. But, we know, the important thing is to rejoice when one encounters his destiny, without regrets. Friendship, yes, the friendship that is released in the Companionship, the Companionship that always reminds you of friendship. And my Fraternity friends were and are: Emanuele Banterle and Gianmaria Bandera and Testoris nephew Frangi and Cesana and Vittadini and Intiglietta and Bonacina with their wives and sons and daughters and Christ.
Franco Branciaroli, actor
Suggestive and Convincing
I have personally met, over the course of recent years, numerous adherents to the Movement of Communion and Liberation, and I have been able to recognize the face of Christ through the thousand faces of contagiously enthusiastic young people who have enlivened the Meeting in Rimini and the World Youth Days. I have thus been able to verify the profound truth of the Holy Fathers words when he states that the originality of the Movement constitutes a powerful support, a suggestive and persuasive reminder to live the Christian experience to the full, with intelligence and creativity.
Along with my best wishes on this wonderful anniversary, I add the thought that mutual esteem and affection are a sign of unity in Christ and an evident gift of the Holy Spirit.
Giuseppe Corigliano, Director of the Information Office of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Rome
The Adventure of Cognition
What is striking in the Popes letter to Fr Giussani is the reference to listening to the needs of todays man. The founder of Communion and Liberation has been and is an outstanding seeker along impervious and at times impossible paths. He has lighted the way for those who have received the gift of faith, but he has also made less dark, by the example of his life and his words, the uncertain and laborious road of many unbelievers, among them myself. I regret not having participated in those GS meetings, and having regarded them even with suspicion, if not irritation. But I have been lucky enough to see again many of these early-rising, silent participants and to have received from them the gift of their affection, advice, and care. Thank you, Fr Giussani, also from one who does not belong to your flock. One has to know how to listen, but also to communicate what he has learned and felt. Otherwise, the adventure of cognition may give many intellectual thrills, but few spiritual and social fruits.
Ferruccio De Bortoli, editor of Corriere della Sera
A Divine Nonchalance
Msgr Giussani should be particularly satisfied at the special apostolic blessing bestowed by John Paul II on the Fraternity he started in 1954, and not only for reasons that are self-explanatory. The Pope recognizes in the particular charism of Communion and Liberation an ability to nourish the lively mission of the Church even in the controversial sphere of politics, where it is at times hard to serve faithfully the cause of the common good.
Today we speak a great deal about civil society, a concept that lies between economy, sociology, and history. If Msgr Luigi Giussani has succeeded in one thing, it is precisely this: toexplosively spread, with the assurance of an adventurous faith, the personal encounter with Christ conceived as an event and not as a generic tendency to believeinto those parts of the secular world in which his Fraternity has left the mark of its activity. With courage, with disdain for peril, with what to me, an unbeliever, has always appeared to be a divine nonchalance, an inspired capacity to stand in the midst of the worlds contradictions.
Giuliano Ferrara, editor of Il Foglio
The Holy Fathers pontificate has been one of the greatest in the history of the Church. Yes, in many ways it has been prefigured by the work of Father Giussani. The entire message of the Holy Fathers pontificate and indeed, his entire life has been a pilgrimage to encounter Christ, the Real Presence, the real God, the real man, the real center of human existence. As the Holy Father himself gratefully makes clear, the Communion and Liberation Movement has turned its members and those it serves toward an existential encounter with Christ, the sum and substance of our lives. The Movement has brought into reality the message of Pope Leo XIII on the dignity of work, which intimately shares in the redemptive work of Christ, for our Lord was as much doing the work of the Father when He toiled in the carpentry shop of St Joseph as He was when He called His disciples to follow Him.
David Forte, Professor, Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, OH
An Important Example
Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.
You have my blessing, and I encourage you to continue with the dedicated work and service you perform on behalf of social concerns and matters of justice in our community. Your focus on peaceful and prayerful means of attaining your goals is effective and an important example for everyone involved in social justice ministry. I appreciate the very Christian way in which you address issues and carry out your mission.
I pray that this Lenten Season will be a grace filled and blessed time for the members of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation and your families. Please keep me in your prayers also.
With kind personal regards, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
John F. Kinney, Bishop of St. Cloud", Minnesota
Twenty years of officialness: to what extent has this marked Communion and Liberation? This is a difficult question to answer, if for no other reason than thatto the joy of us allcelebrating the occasion is the same Pope who in 1982 granted recognition to the CL Fraternity. This is a Pope who has always been able to express the primacy of faith over the institutional dimension of the Church. A man like Karol Wojtyla would certainly not flinch in the face of the eccentricity, the explosive charge of a Movement that was sometimes viewed with suspicion by the ecclesiastical hierarchy. He has accompanied you as you grew to adulthood, perhaps overcoming a certain widespread temptation to self-sufficiency, furnishing a vision of the Church that was at the same time traditionalist and capable of letting itself be rocked by a reference to Christ that implied a continuous search for your roots and a severe recognition of any shortcomings.
The special harmony between John Paul II and the Movement founded by Fr Luigi Giussani now awaits the verification of a new season, the unknowns of a second phase. But, after all, the letter you received from the elderly Pope under whose guidance you have grown up in itself contains the direction: stay young and open to todays questions. It is not easy, but there is where the meaning of staying together is found.
Gad Lerner, journalist, La7
The Event Par Excellence
As the representative of another charismatic reality in the Church, I applaud Msgr Giussanis joy on the twentieth anniversary of the recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. I know what it means for a founder to have a word from the Holy Father, from this Holy Father John Paul II, who will go down in history, among other reasons, for having understood, supported, blessed, and approved the new ecclesial movements and new communities. At the same time I praise God for the charism that has been given to Msgr Giussani and, through him, to the many sons and daughters who follow him throughout the world. This is a sublime gift, all concentrated, it seems to me, in the event par excellence which he was the first to experience: the personal encounter with Jesus, the fount of intense spiritual life and of so much marvelous life, so many concrete works. Praise be to the Holy Spirit, who never ceases to make the Church beautiful by preparing her, century by century, to face the recurring challenges and to give her the victory.
Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement
John Paul IIs letter to Msgr Luigi Giussani is a gesture of great and very personal affection toward an important reality in the Church of our time. It is the point of arrival of a journey undertaken by John Paul II when, from the very beginning of his pontificate, he chose to meet in a personal way the Christians on the new paths they were traveling: The strength of Christs Spirit never ceases to overcome, to break apart, as it were, the sedimentary schemes and forms of our former life, to push toward new unprecedented ways of expression. With this spirit, the Pope encountered Communion and Liberation and watched its history unfold. John Paul II immediately grasped Fr Giussanis core insight: Christianity, even before being a sum of doctrines or a rule for salvation, is thus the event of an encounter. On the eve of Pentecost 1998, the Pope spoke of the maturity of the movements and the new communities. This maturity is expressed in the responsibility toward the mission of the Church and the capacity to represent, even in diversity, a space of love founded on giving, in a society that has lost the sense of gratuitousness. The gift of this message from the Pope to Communion and Liberation, too, offers a wonderful occasion for me to join in his sentiments and to send my best wishes to Fr Giussani, who has walked on the path of an ever more daring faithfulness to the Gospel.
Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of St Egidio
The Safest Route
If Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, what teaching does He want to give us? The Way is an ancient religious practice; the Tao and Buddha point it out to us. But the Truth? We live in times when (I am thinking especially, but not only, of Italy) the Truth seems to be reduced to a different form of the Lie. The cynicism and sarcasm current today seem to suggest this reading of reality: may your only identity be todays share, personal interest, brief gain. Good is indicated as a different, and inferior, form of Evil. Miltons Fallen Angels calculate their audience, with satisfaction. Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, an Auschwitz survivor, postulates that in the long run, Good triumphs over Evil because Evil is rooted in lies and lies must, of necessity, logically, yield in the face of the truth. This is, in the colorful blindness of today, the safest route, the one to which we determinedly entrust our precarious passage of Life and towards Life. And this, it seems to me, is what, in his aware suffering, Pope John Paul II talks about in his epistle to Fr Giussani.
Gianni Riotta, Co-editor, La Stampa
How very wonderful! There are few Catholic organizations that I've come in contact with that maintain, with such sincere clarity, the rigor of the Catholic Creed, and yet, understand the intuitive motion of Spirit, and the freedoms of individuality that are implicit in this path of Unification with God, which you call Christ. In an age where individuality is essentialand often is overly accentuated in contrast to the excess collectivism of the pastCommunion and Liberation offers an authentic contemporary voice of Catholicism, which all religions can learn from, especially poignant and meaningful to today's youth, ie, the future. My regards to you and Msgr Giussani. You are New Israel to me, although there may be many who still feel uncomfortable with such a phrase. With great fraternal love,
Michael Shevack, Rabbi, New York
Who would ever have expected it? Even at the waning of the century of Prometheus, the Christian intelligentsia has been renewed and restored to itself in such a simple and splendid manner! The Popes letter of recognition of Msgr Giussanis half-century of work makes us see the encountermore than the accord--the event of the encounter of two of the most intelligent men of our times, together at the center of the same marvel: the restoration to the common man of his faculty of thought More than ever, here the imprint of the Holy Spirit, announced by Isaiah, takes concrete form! I say this because it seems obvious that the newness of Giussanis genius lies in the gift he gave to everyone of a method for understanding, that is, for living the Christian experience to the full, with intelligence and creativity, to use the Pontiffs own words. And the Holy Father is right: Fr Giussani, a man of culture, has found the key, the way, the manner to make each and every one understand that the fullness of his intelligence is inseparable from the experience of lived faith. We already knew it from St Augustine, but now all of us have the means for experiencing it in every moment, in every operation of committed thought: we believe so as to understand Descartes method, by moving the axis of the intelligible universe toward man, took three centuries to bring him from intellectual pride to desperation, from Sartres nausea to existential nothingness I wager that in three generations Fr Giussanis method will have swept away all that bitterness To wait for Godot, we have to become Vladimir or Estragon; conversely, to rediscover Christ, all we have to do is follow the traces of Fr Gius Alleluia!
Bruno Tolentino, Brazilian poet and Jabuti Literary Prize Winner for 1997
Extracts from the homilies during Masses celebrated in honor of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Fraternity
Carlo Maria Martini
Archbishop of Milan
First of all, like the Holy Father in his message to Msgr Giussani yesterday, I join in the joy of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, on the twentieth anniversary of its recognition by the Pontifical Council for the Laity as an Association of Faithful of Pontifical Right, and together with the Pope I thankonce again I quote his letterGod for what He has wrought through your initiative, Reverend Monsignor, and that of those who have joined hands with you over the years. And the Pope concludes, It is a comfort to recall the events through which Gods action has manifested itself and to acknowledge together the greatness of His mercy! It is a comfort and it is right to acknowledge it here in such large numbers as you are this evening, with so many priests and so many faithful. It is a comfort to acknowledge it together in the adoration, in the singing, in the silence, in the contemplation of the Mystery of God
This is the purpose of all the intermediate aggregations in the one Body of the Lord: to insert each person vitally and profoundly into the one people of God, and the quality of this insertion is the meter and measure of every aggregation in the Church
This becomes even more wonderful when an entire community, like your great Fraternity, puts itself in an attitude of listening to the word and renders itself obedient to it. Then, a reason for great joy and a great help is the thought of beingall of us, all of you bound to Jesus and thus bound among us and among yourselves by stronger ties than the ties of blood. You will be brother and mother to me
This twenty-year milestone of yours, for which we give thanks to God, urges you then to look even farther beyond yourselves, to look to the whole Church, in whose sight you have been given these gifts for which we are rightly grateful to God. The celebration of twenty years is an occasion to grow in maturity, to take even more onto ourselvesnot only the development of the works you have begun, but also to take to heart the entire Church and her needs.
At the end of Mass, before the final blessing
I would like to express once again my heartfelt gratitude for your having asked me to preside over this celebration. I have done so with great joy and thinking of each of you with great love. I thank you warmly for the good wishes you extended to me for my 75th birthday, which is a meaningful date for many reasons, also because it lets me catch a glimpse of the dream of Jerusalem, finally at peace, that I have been harboring for so long. In any case, I would like to say that I am very close to each of you. I well understand the effort, the journey, the toil and joy of all of you, priests, lay people, especially the families, and everyone who serves the Kingdom of God. I love you very much, perhaps much more than you imagine, because I feel you to be profoundly in my heart and in the heart of Christ. I truly desire that each of you may attain the ideal of full and perfect sanctity and profound presence in the heart of the Church, which is also Fr Giussanis wish with these deeply moving words he has addressed to us just now. I thus ask the Lord to bless wholeheartedly each of you and all our Church.
Archbishop of Bologna
A hymn of gratitude rises to the Lordand becomes in you a song of pure exultationfor a historya history that has been given to you and, taking concrete form in your daily experience, has become in you a principle of original identity and characteristic belonging. Certainly, it is an identity that is nothing other than the Christian identity, which you received radically at Baptism, but in the Movement it has become more pronounced, more precise, more incontestable in you. Certainly, it is a belonging that is nothing other than the belonging to the Holy Catholic Church (reinforced every time you participate in the sacrifice of the Body given up and the Blood shed), but it has received a new awareness, more concretely industrious, more prolific with good. Your history started a long time ago, indeed it started in the years of Fr Giussanis adolescence For me, too, it is a reason for personal satisfaction to evoke in my cathedral a history which in the reality of things began in that Seminary in Venegono, whose magisterium of faith, life, and love of the truth was determinant also for me, and remains unforgettable. The friendship that binds me to Fr Giussani since those years explains and justifies my emotion today and the joyfulness of the hour I am living with you. My first wish is that you may never tire of making impassioned memory of the Lord Jesus, in whom every spark of humanity, every thrill, every aspiration, every instant of existence acquires meaning and value In too many areas of Christianity today, the name of Christ has become an extrinsic label, and mention of Him an excuse for speaking of other things. In your Fraternity, may this never be so My second wish is that you may derive every inspiration and every rule of behavior from the ecclesial communion, conceived not as a mere ideological denomination but as a reality that involves and satisfies. May Our Lord help you to be able to graspwith the X-ray vision of faiththe enchanting beauty of the Bride of the King, above and beyond all theological chatter and all worldly distortions. And may you always be able to look at each man you meeteven the most distant and differentas a living icon of Christ, who awaits being liberated from his dross and restored to his original resemblance to the divine Archetype by your invincible capacity to love.
Antonio María Rouco Varela
Archbishop of Madrid
The twentieth anniversary of the pontifical recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation is a date on which the Lord invites us to give thanks for this event, which signified for the Fraternity its visible, universal entrance into the one holy, catholic, apostolic Church. The Church visible in all the world has welcomed and highlighted the ecclesial value of the Fraternity of CL through John Paul IIs gesture. It is the guarantee that you are living in the Church Nothing is more catholic than those who open themselves to living the journey of their life as a journey toward sanctity. To belong to the Church means to be the light, to be the salt of the earth. This does not come about by virtue of any power or knowledge on the part of men, or of any strength that arises from man who believes he can dominate the world and himself, and is sometimes even tempted to take over God or to manufacture Him, mold Him, reduce Him to his own idea or experience; whereas it is in the Church that he receives the Word made flesh, he announces it with tremblinglike Pauland by the strength of the Holy Spirit, by the Grace, the gifts, and the charisms of the Holy Spirit, whose final aim is the announcement of the knowledge of God You have accomplished the journey of your Christian life through the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation because you are aware that in this way you live your vocation as members and children of the Church, or to use St Pauls term, as members of the Body of Christ-because you are aware that the Lord asks you to do it in this way, so that in your lives, through your lives, the light may be made manifest, that the Church may be seen as a city on the hill, that your good works may shine before men and society, both near and far. And more, you are aware that in this way you are faithful to the grace and gift of the Holy Spirit, each one personally and all together in your communion, in accordance with the form and modality the Church has recognized as yours and by which, following the guideline given by the founder and initiator of CL, Msgr Luigi Giussani, you have imitated him. And not by chance, but because the history, the circumstances of the history of the world and the Church called for it.
Javier Martínez Fernández
Bishop of Córdoba
The aspect perhaps most enlightening to me of my encounter with Communion and Liberation was understanding, through those who were educated by Msgr Giussani, that Gods plan coincides with the fullness of human life; that what God wants for men is not something alongside life: God wants man to be fully himself, to achieve the fullness for which he was created. Gods plan, and thus His work, and the work of the Church, is for man to live. Gods glory is mans happiness. Growing in this certitude has helped me greatly to better understand Christian life and morality, as well as the mission of the Church. Yes, Christian life coincides with human life in its truth The fact is that we cannot achieve this by ourselves. Only when man encounters Gods infinite love, revealed in Christ and made tangible for us in the communion of the Church, does he discover that this is what he has wanted all his life, that this is what gives his life a meaning. Christ did not come so that we may perform certain gestures of worship, or to impose certain rules on our life; Christ came so that each one may recognize that life has a positive meaning. This is perhaps the most crucial aspect that I have understood and lived in sharing this ecclesial experience. If Christ came so that man may live, the center of the Church, which continues Christs Incarnation in history, lies at the edge, in the spot where she meets the world Because it is there that redemption is happening; Christ came so that this may happen, and the Church, the Scriptures, the Sacraments exist solely so that this may happen Thus the Churchs mission takes place in the workplace, in individual homes, with neighbors, in shops or cafés or at a birthday party. There is where the Christian can show forth Christ and His meaning for life, in the only way in which Christ can be shown, through the witness of men and women who, living the same problems and the same frailties as all other men, live life with gratitude and hope.
Bishop of Kamau (Kenya)
I was struck by some of the writings of the founder of CL As Fr. Giussani says the communal life is not easy it is a risk but then he says what is needed is a real desire and commitment to Christ in accordance to the grace of experience that has been granted to us .
So, remember, there is not fear. What is require the commitment, the adhere to the Movement
There are three Pillars to these i.e:
1) Prayer; this is important not only to members of the movement even for us as Christians or family people.
2) Poverty; this is very sensitive; so I prefer to call it detachment that I may for example have a good car but I am not attached to it I need to share whatever I have with others . I am ready to give up everything for Christ.
3) and then the third one is Obedience to the Church and to this companionship.
We are called with a purpose. You are called together to be sent out. Your purpose is to share with others the experience which you have encountered.
I am happy of the recognition of the Holy Father 20 years ago, and now this experience has spread even here in the Diocese of Nairobi, fill it through the members. This is what we are call to do.
So in our fraternity of Christian life we are call to go out and to share our experience.
So, I wish all the best to all the members of the Movement. So I am also a friend of the Movement!