VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI wrote a message to express the Church’s gratitude to the ecclesial movements and new communities and to call them to obedience and communion with the Pope and bishops.
“The ecclesial movements and new communities are today a luminous sign of the beauty of Christ and of his Church, his Bride,” affirmed the Holy Father in the message, which was read at the 2nd World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities.
The meeting, being held through Friday, was organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rocca di Papa, near Rome.
The initiative has gathered together 300 representatives of more than 100 Catholic entities, in preparation for Saturday’s meeting with the Pope in St. Peter’s Square, on the eve of Pentecost. About 300,000 people are expected to attend.
“Carry the light of Christ into all the social and cultural environments in which you live,” Benedict XVI exhorted the members of the movements, in the message which was read by Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
“Illuminate the darkness of a world confused by the contradictory messages of ideologies!” the Pope urged.
“How much evil in the lives of men and nations can be produced by thirst for power, possession and pleasure! Bring to this troubled world the witness of the freedom with which Christ set us free,” the Holy Father stressed.
“You belong to the living structure of the Church,” the Pope assured the movements and new communities.
The Church “thanks you for your missionary commitment, for your increasing formative efforts among Christian families, and for the promotion of vocations to the priestly ministry and to consecrated life,” he added.
At the same time, Benedict XVI thanked them “for the willingness you show in welcoming the operational guidelines, not only of Peter’s Successor, but also of bishops in the various local Churches who, together with the Pope, are the custodians of truth and charity in unity.”
“I trust in your ready obedience,” he stated. “The movements must face all problems with sentiments of profound communion, in a spirit of adherence to legitimate pastors.”