In advance of their June 3rd meeting in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to participants of the 2nd World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities. The meeting which is taking place in Rocca di Papa, south of Rome, begins today discussing the theme: "the beauty of being a Christian and the joy of communicating this."
Referring to the theme of the meeting, the Holy Father affirmed in his Message: "Over the course of the centuries, Christianity was communicated and spread thanks to the novelty of the lives of individuals and communities who were capable of providing an incisive witness of love, unity and happiness. This was the force that 'mobilized' so many people over the generations. ... Today also, Christ continues to make so many people's hearts ring with that decisive 'come and follow Me,' which can decide their destiny."
Pope Benedict recalled, in his message, the first World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, which he took part in as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1998. The Holy Father echoed Pope John Paul II’s words on that occasion that the new movements and communities are, “’a sign of hope’ for the good of the Church and mankind.”
The Holy Father called on the ecclesial movements "always to be schools of communion. ... Carry the light of Christ into all the social and cultural environments in which you live. ... Illuminate the darkness of a world confused by the contradictory messages of ideologies. ... How much evil in the lives of men and nations can be produced by thirst for power, possession and pleasure! Bring to this troubled world the witness of the freedom with which Christ set us free."
"Where charity is expressed as a passion for the life and destiny of others, radiating into the affections ... and becoming a force for creating a more just social order, there we build a civilization capable of facing up to the advance of barbarism. Be builders of a better world, according to the 'ordo amoris' in which the beauty of human life is expressed."
The Pope highlighted how ecclesial movements and new communities form part of "the living structure of the Church. She thanks you,” the Holy Father said, “for your missionary commitment, for your increasing formative efforts among Christian families, and for the promotion of vocations to the priestly ministry and to consecrated life."
The Church also thanks you, the Holy Father's Message concluded: "for the willingness you show in welcoming the operational guidelines, not only of Peter's Successor, but also of bishops in the various local Churches who, together with the Pope, are the custodians of truth and charity in unity. I trust in your ready obedience. ... The movements must face all problems with sentiments of profound communion, in a spirit of adherence to legitimate pastors."