Among the events of the Year of Faith is a Pentecost vigil on May 18 dedicated to movements old and new. It will include a pilgrimage to the Apostle Peter’s tomb, and there will be time for prayer in St. Peter’s Square to ask God to pour out his Spirit once again, and make present the marvels of the early Church.
In Rome, the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum will open its doors to the movements.
In this interview, Legionary of Christ Father Pedro Barrajón, Regina Apostolorum’s rector, explains how to participate in the event.
Q: What is the Holy Father’s motive in gathering all the movements on the vigil of Pentecost?
Father Barrajón: Both Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI have invited the ecclesial movements and new communities to Rome on the feast of Pentecost to encourage them to continue their evangelizing mission under the guidance of the Church. In these gatherings, both the founders of the movements and their directors presented to the Holy Father the richness of their different charisms and renewed their desire to carry out their specific mission within the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Father. I was able to attend both events, and they greatly enriched my own faith.
The Holy Father has again gathered the movements in the Year of Faith because they have a very important role in spreading the faith in a secularized world. He wants to confirm them in their faith, to be present in their lives, to launch them towards new apostolic goals, to reinforce their communion with their pastors. After the event with the Vicar of Christ, people will return to their everyday lives inspired to continue spreading the Gospel and be leaven of Christ’s presence in the world.
Q: Why did tRegina Apostolorum decide to organize an international congress?
Father Barrajón: We believe that the new movements and ecclesial communities have a decisive role in the formation and spread of the faith. The Holy Father asked the major ecclesiastical institutions to help in the year of faith by organizing different events that help go deeper in the various aspects of the Catholic faith.
We think that it will be a useful contribution to the Church to try to delineate with more precisions the specific contribution of the movements in two areas: first, in the formation of the faith in others, and second, in spreading the faith. The formation of the faith is very important because today more than ever we need a solid faith, deeply rooted in the Word of God, the tradition of the Church, the Magisterium, given the great doctrinal confusion that perplexes many faithful Christians. We need well-formed lay people who are able to intelligently face the great challenges that today’s secularized world presents to believers. And it’s necessary to give the faith to others. Faith increases when it’s given, as John Paul II said. The members of the movements are characterized by a great desire to communicate the Gospel to those around them, and to the entire world. We would like to underline these two important aspects in which the movements serve the Church.
Q: What will be the format of the congress?
Father Barrajón: The congress is comprised of two main parts. The first is dedicated to analyzing the nature and the mission of the new movements and ecclesial communities, and their role in today’s Church: their charismatic action, their contribution in spreading and forming the faith, their canonical and ecclesial status. In the second part we will concentrate on studying the Regnum Christi Movement with which the Athenaeum has a special relationship given that it’s closely linked to the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. This second part will be similar to an international encounter of the members of this movement; it will include the movement´s directors and members, and will present a vast array of Regnum Christi apostolates which are particularly related to faith formation and evangelization: in youth work, family, media and social communication, the role of women in today’s world, schools, universities, foreign missions, etc.
Q: Which movements will participate?
Father Barrajón: We have invited some of the movements with particular historical or numerical influence, such as Communion and Liberation, Focolare, Renewal in the Spirit, the Neocatechumenal Way, and so on, and also other new communities such as the Community of St John, The Emmanuel Community, the Community of the Beatitudes etc. We could not invite all of them to speak, since, thanks be to God, there are many of them. But all are invited to participate in the different sessions of the congress in order to enter into communion with the members of other ecclesial movements.
Q: Do you hope to draw people from many countries?
Father Barrajón: It’s not easy to say for sure, but I think that we will have a good number of people from Latin America, North America, and Europe, above all. We will have a smaller group from Asia and Africa. One of the beautiful aspects of these gatherings is their catholicity; in the universality of the Church you see how there are no frontiers for the action of the Holy Spirit, and how we have all drawn from the same spirit of Christ.
Q: Why is it important for young people and families to participate in this event?
Father Barrajón: The congress is open to everyone, above all to our own students in the Athenaeum, but also to members of the movements and ecclesial communities. Young people and families have a special place within this panorama. Young people because they are the hope of the Church, who with their enthusiasm become heralds of Christ among their peers and so forge the values of a more Christian future. Families because they remind us that the Gospel is first lived in the home, wherein each person has a role in building the domestic Church in which they live out the gift of themselves and the spirit of gratitude.
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For more information:
Regina Apostolorum Web site: www.uprait.org.
Or call the secretary of the congress at 06.66543897 or send an email to [email protected].