Archbishop Estanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, said this week during the II Assembly of the Christian Life Movement in Lima, Peru, that the Church needs radical commitment to the Gospel at the dawn of the Third Millennium.
Archbishop Rylko, who traveled to Lima to meet with delegates participating in the gathering of members of the movement founded by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figaro, stated, “The Church has entered this new millennium with the awareness of the gravity of the problems and challenges that await her, but she is also filled with hope.” He likewise recalled the words of Pope John Paul II: “One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to our times is most certainly the flourishing of the ecclesial movements which, since the beginning of my pontificate, I have been singled out as a reason for hope for the Church.”
“Today,” the archbishop continued, “it is impossible to speak of the New Evangelization without making reference to the ecclesial movements.” “Already as bishop of Krakow, John Paul II discovered the enormous evangelizing potential of the movements and he continues to do so now as Pope. Not only does he encourage, sustain and promote them in the Church but at the same time he is very demanding with them and he lays out significant goals for them.”
Archbishop Rylko also pointed out that, “Today more than ever, the Christian formation of the laity is the most urgent task, a formation that begins with a profound conversion of heart.”
Christian formation, he added, “should always have a strong missionary aspect, as the Christian vocation is by its very nature a vocation to the apostolate. This is why the ecclesial maturity of the movements finds its fullest expression in the work of evangelization.”
The novelty of the movements
Archbishop Rylko also mentioned that one of the most serious problems in the area of evangelization is that of falling into a routine, which “strips the Christian proclamation and witness of their freshness and persuasive strength.”
In this sense, he pointed out that the ecclesial movements go beyond the traditional forms of the apostolate in order to develop and propose “new methods and forms”, which “are not limited to the parish environment” but rather penetrate the culture, media, economy and politics of our day.
“Where is the source of this evangelical impulse of the ecclesial movements?” the archbishop asked. “It is because of the teachings of the II Vatican Council that the awareness of the charismatic dimensions, whether of the Church herself or of the Christian life, has notably increased.”