Charismatic Renewal Is Gift of Spirit to Church, Pope Says

Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Its Advent in Italy

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2002 ( John Paul II celebrated the 30th anniversary of the advent of the Charismatic Renewal in Italy, when he received a delegation of members of this ecclesial movement.

«Yes! The Renewal in the Spirit can be considered as a special gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church in our time,» the Holy Father said enthusiastically, when he welcomed the «Charismatics,» as they are commonly known.

In Italy, the Renewal in the Holy Spirit has 200,000 members in 1,800 communities or prayer groups. Vatican Radio ( says the movement embraces at least 80 million Catholics worldwide.

The Pope was grateful for the spirit in which the Renewal is growing in Italy, characterized by «collaboration with the hierarchy and with those responsible for other movements, associations and communities.»

«Born in the Church and for the Church, in your movement one experiences in the light of the Gospel the living encounter with Jesus, the faithfulness of God in personal and community prayer, confident listening to the Word, the vital discovery of the sacraments, as well as courage in trials and hope in tribulations,» the Pope said.

«Love of the Church and adherence to its magisterium, in a way of ecclesial maturation supported by a permanent solid formation, are the eloquent signs of your commitment to avoid the risk of remaining, unwittingly, in a merely emotional experience of the divine,» the Bishop of Rome added.

This risk can be appreciated «in an exaggerated quest for the ´extraordinary,´ and a private withdrawal that avoids apostolic commitment,» the Holy Father continued.

At the end of the meeting, John Paul II blessed three projects launched by the Charismatic Renewal in Italy.

The first is support for the establishment of the Church in Moldova, in cooperation with the Regina Pacis Foundation of the Italian Archdiocese of Lecce. Among other things, this institution has freed hundreds of young Moldovan women in Italy from enslavement to prostitution.

The second project is the spiritual leadership of members of the Charismatic Renewal in Marian shrines. The Pope called them «favorite places of the Spirit who gives you the opportunity to offer pilgrims ways to deepen their faith and spiritual reflection.»

Lastly, the Pope encouraged the «Burning Bush» project (see, ZENIT, May 7, 2001), an invitation to a perpetual novena. This initiative invites Christians to «return to the Cenacle» to obtain full unity and the conversion of sinners.

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