Here is a message from the Canadian bishops’ Standing Committee for Relations with Movements and Associations for Pentecost, celebrated this Sunday.
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Dear Members of Movements and Associations,
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in their own language. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own language…them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” (Acts 2.5-1).
In this wonderful passage from our Liturgy celebrating Pentecost Sunday, we witness one of the great works of the Holy Spirit: the power to create unity from diversity. Diversity, when inspired by God, is a manifestation of the many gifts, talents, ways of life and charisms that God chooses to use to fulfill his plans and promises. Unity, when inspired by God, is a manifestation of how the many gifts, talents, ways of life and charisms can work together towards a single goal and mission. In the Church in Canada, this work of the Holy Spirit is ongoing as the diversity of our many Movements and Associations, are, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, working together to bring about the Reign of God.
During the 2014 CCCB Forum for Catholic Movements and Associations, held at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Quebec, many of us spoke about how good it was to come together and discover our diversity – to witness the variety of ways people are living lives of service to strengthen our Church and communities. But, more importantly, we spoke about discovering more effective ways of working together – to discover the complementarity of our Movements and Associations. Our celebration of Pentecost reminds us that this is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit, and our place is to listen carefully and follow faithfully.
Perhaps we should look to the example of Consecrated Life in Canada. Our history is rich with examples of women and men, having chosen to follow Christ by following the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, and, by doing so, contributing to our country’s many educational, social, and spiritual needs. No two religious communities or consecrated persons contribute in the same way, and as a result, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, a diversity of needs is met. We thank God for these women and men in Consecrated Life and for their example.
May the many gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to enliven the charism of all Movements and Associations, and may the Holy Spirit inspire unity in our diversity.
Standing Committee for Relations with Movements and Associations
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops