MILAN, Italy, FEB. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Before his hospitalization Thursday, John Paul II sent a message to be read at the funeral Mass for Monsignor Luigi Giussani, founder of the Communion and Liberation movement.
The message was read by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and papal legate to Thursday’s funeral, attended by 30,000 people. Italian public television broadcasted the ceremony live.
The Mass took place in the cathedral of Milan. Monsignor Giussani died Tuesday at age 82.
The Pope expressed his admiration for the founder’s “ardent faith,” which helped to inspire acceptance of the Gospel message, especially among young people.
“I thank God for the gift of his life, dedicated without reservations, in coherent adherence to his own priestly vocation, in constant listening to the needs of the contemporary human being and in courageous service to the Church,” added the Holy Father in his message.
“All his apostolic action could be summarized in the frank and determined invitation that he addressed to all those who approached him, to a personal encounter with Christ, full and definitive answer to the most profound hopes of the human heart,” he said.
John Paul II summarized Monsignor Giussani’s life and apostolate in two words: “Christ and the Church.”
He added: “Without ever separating one from the other, he communicated around him a true love for the Lord and for the different popes whom he met personally.”
The Holy Father added: “I like to remember him as teacher of humanity and defender of the religiosity engraved in the heart of the human being.”