Pope Urges “Spirituality of Communion” Among Bishops

A Congress Gathers Friends of Focolare Movement

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 15, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI greeted a group of 97 participants in the annual congress of bishop-friends of the Focolare Movement, led by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk of Prague.

The Pope addressed them at the end of today’s general audience, encouraging them to reflect “ever more on the authentic spirituality of communion, which must characterize the presbyterial and episcopal ministry.”

In this congress, which began Saturday in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, the bishops spent days in reflection and dialogue, prayer and fraternal coexistence, centered on the theme “Christ Crucified and Abandoned: The Face of God-Love and Life for Humanity.”

In her opening message, Chiara Lubich, founder and president of the Focolarini, told the prelates from 51 countries that “deeper understanding of the mysterious sorrow of the abandonment of Jesus on the cross can become light for their path, a response to their ‘whys,’ a way to unity.”

The meeting’s point of reference was Benedict XVI’s encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est.” The bishops addressed a different aspect of the encyclical each day of the congress.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, emphasized that the spirituality of communion “supports bishops in their ministry and helps them see each person as loved by God.”

Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, stressed the special gift that movements, with their diverse charisms, constitute for the Church, as they are a “factor of evangelization, resource not only for the lives of the faithful, but also of the pastors.”

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