.- One of the world’s largest summer festivals – which is a meeting of Catholics - is taking place this week in Rimini, a beach town on the Adriatic coast of Italy.
The 27th annual Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, organized by the worldwide Catholic movement, Communion and Liberation, opened yesterday and will run until Aug. 26th. The theme of the weeklong conference is, "Reason is the Need for the Infinite and Culminates in the Longing and the Presentiment this Infinite becoming Manifest."
Communion and Liberation was founded as a student movement in 1954 by Fr. Luigi Giussani, in Italy. There are currently members active in over 20 countries throughout the world.
According to the Communion and Liberation website, the annual Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples—which has taken place every summer since 1980—is the most frequented summer festival of encounters, culture events, music and stage-shows in the world. The event receives a yearly average of over 600,000 visitors.
The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano sent conference participants a message on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, which was read by Bishop Mariano De Nicolò of Rimini, at the opening mass.
The message noted the theme of the festival, which puts the spotlight on man and on his most intimate relationship with the Creator. Man has the clear sense of being made for an infinite destination. It is this destination alone that can fill the space and emptiness he feels inside, the message said.
“Restlessness, lack of satisfaction, desire, an impossibility to appease himself in his accomplishments: these are the words that define man and the laws of his reasoning,” the cardinal wrote in his message.
Man is on a continuous search for the Infinite. This search for the Infinite, he said, seems condemned to take place within the limits of the finite. “Man, in fact…remains always conditioned by his time and space, rather than by the limits of his own ability,” he said.
The meeting intends to propose once again, with vigor, the perennial truth of Christianity—that God, the Infinite, entered into human history to be able to reach out to man in his rational nature. And he continues to reach out to man always, the message said.
In sum, this year’s meeting in Rimini repeats the Church’s invitation to all people to come into a personal encounter with God and to satisfy their thirst in him. The experience of peace is possible in God, who revealed himself through Christ, the message concluded.
Cardinal Sodano assured participants of the Pope’s prayers. He also said the Pope remains very mindful of the Holy Land and the Middle East during this time of profound pain. The Pope, he said, urges all people to pray for peace.