VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- Here is the message addressed to Benedict XVI by Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, in the name of the ecclesial movements and new communities meeting with the Holy Father in St. Peter’s Square on the vigil of Pentecost.
The message was read by a representative as Chiara Lubich was unable to attend for reasons of health.
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Most Holy Father,
I am speaking to you on behalf of all the movements and new ecclesial communities that are represented in this square.
We want to first of all express our profound and heartfelt gratitude, Your Holiness, for having summoned and brought us together again here at the Chair of Peter, all gathered around you.
Today, how can we not remember with fondness your beloved predecessor, the Holy Father John Paul II, and our memorable meeting with him on the vigil of Pentecost 1998?
On that day, he had announced that “a new stage is unfolding before you: That of ecclesial maturity.” In that moment, he said: “The Church expects from you the ‘mature’ fruits of communion and commitment.”
These words of his, together with others, through which he defined our role in the spouse of Christ as an important charismatic dimension of the Church, co-essential with the institutional one, meant that he understood and recognized us, but also that we had a great responsibility to live up to.
We want to be worthy of such deep trust. On that occasion, in agreement with other founders, I had promised the Holy Father John Paul II that we would have worked to increase the communion among movements and new communities.
Today we can say that mutual love and unity among us all has grown more than we could have predicted.
Our communities, in fact, and our movements appear to us as many networks of love that God is weaving together throughout the world, almost so as to anticipate — on a laboratory scale — the unity of the human family, in continuity with the admirable works of the religious orders and congregations.
And our infinite gratitude goes to the one who we feel is the true protagonist behind the blossoming of our movements: the Holy Spirit, who always fills us with his gifts.
He is at work in our day and is continuing his action through the centuries in favor of the Church which, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20), is leaven for the civilization of love.
We want to assure you, Your Holiness, that the collaboration and communion among movements and the new communities will continue, so that, in full communion and obedience with you and with the pastors of the Church, we can work for the same goals that Jesus wanted to achieve, unity being the first.
And our beloved Church will be more one, more a family, more welcoming, more beautiful in its diversity. It will bear witness to Christ through its many features and to Mary, the Mother of God, the charismatic one par excellence.
[Translation issued by the Pontifical Council for the Laity; adapted]