On Saturday evening, during the Vespers of Pentecost, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that the new movements and lay communities are a blessing to the Church.
The Pope presided at the celebration of the first Vespers of the Solemnity of Pentecost before some 40,000 faithful from parishes, associations and ecclesial groups, especially members of the Movement for Renewal in the Spirit, at the special invitation of the Holy Father.
The Pontiff also greeted numerous young people who were participating in a prayer vigil at Lednica, Poland, and were connected to St, Peter’s Square through a radio and television link: “I pray with you, my dear friends, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. May the Consoler, the Holy Spirit, fill you with the love of Christ, to Whom you entrust your future.”
Addressing the members of Renewal in the Spirit, “one of the various expressions of the great family of the Catholic charismatic movement,” he said: “Thanks to the charismatic movement many Christians – men and women, children and adults – have rediscovered Pentecost as a living reality in their daily lives.”
“It is my hope that the spirituality of Pentecost may spread through the Church as a renewed impetus of prayer, of sanctity, of communion and of announcement,” said the Holy Father.
The Pope encouraged “the initiative known as the ‘Burning Bush,’ promoted by Renewal in the Spirit. It involves incessant adoration, day and night, before the Most Holy Sacrament; an invitation to the faithful to ‘return to the Cenacle’ so that, united in contemplation of the Eucharistic Mystery, they may intercede for the full unity of Christians and for the conversion of sinners.
“It is my heartfelt wish that this initiative may conduct many people to rediscover the gifts of the Spirit that have their source in the Pentecost,” he said.
“This evening’s celebration,” he continued, “reminds me of the memorable meeting with ecclesial groups and new communities on the vigil of Pentecost six years ago. That was an extraordinary epiphany of the unity of the Church, in the richness and variety of charisms which the Holy Spirit lavishly donates.”
And the Pope repeated the words he used on that occasion: “Ecclesial movements and new communities are a ‘providential response’ – one ‘activated by the Holy Spirit’ – to the modern-day question of new evangelization, for which ‘mature Christian personalities’ and ‘living Christian communities’ are necessary.”
“For this reason,” he concluded, “I also say to you: ‘Open yourselves meekly to the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Accept with gratitude and obedience the gifts that the Spirit does not cease to give! Do not forget that each charism is given for the common good, in other words for the benefit of the entire Church!’”