VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The new ecclesial movements and communities are a “providential answer” of the Holy Spirit for the Church, John Paul II said on the eve of Pentecost.
The Pope presided over vespers in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday, attended by 15,000 pilgrims. He had called the event to witness to the variety of charisms — gifts or graces by God to people for the good of others — in the Church.
In particular, the Holy Father said he wanted to renew the Church’s experience at Pentecost in 1998, when, for the first time, representatives of these new ecclesial realities met in St. Peter’s Square around him and bishops from all over the world.
“It was an extraordinary manifestation of the unity of the Church, in the richness and variety of charisms, which the Holy Spirit infuses in abundance,” John Paul II said during his homily Saturday.
“I energetically repeat what I said on that occasion: The ecclesial movements and new communities are a providential answer, inspired by the Holy Spirit given the present need of new evangelization,” he added.
“This evangelization needs mature Christian personalities and strong Christian communities,” the Pope said.
On hand were members of Renewal in the Spirit, a branch of the Catholic charismatic movement in Italy. Renewal in the Spirit numbers 200,000 people in some 1,800 communities and prayer groups.
“Thanks to the charismatic movement, many Christians, men and women, youths and adults, have rediscovered Pentecost as a living and present reality in their daily life,” the Holy Father said.
“I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread in the Church, as a renewed thrust of prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation,” he indicated.
John Paul II encouraged the initiative Burning Bush, promoted by Renewal in the Spirit, which involves “incessant adoration, day and night, before the Most Holy Sacrament; an invitation to the faithful to return to the Cenacle.”
Its objective, the Pope said, is that the baptized “united in the contemplation of the Eucharistic mystery … intercede for the full unity of Christians and the conversion of sinners.”
“I sincerely desire that this initiative lead many to rediscover the gifts of the Spirit, which have their source in Pentecost,” he added.
He concluded: “Among us, with raised hands, is praying the Virgin, Mother of Christ and of the Church. Together with her, let us implore and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, light of truth, strength of authentic peace.”
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal arose in 1967. Its International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (www.iccrs.org) is recognized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.