Pope Francis has urged over sixty thousand members of the Communion and Liberation movement to be prophets of peace and unity.
He was speaking to the movement members on Saturday gathered at Saint Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis offered his best wishes and praise for the movement’s ministry and especially its founder, Msgr. Luigi Giussani.
The celebration marked the centenary of Fr. Giussani’s birth, and brought together members of the movement from across Italy and around the world.
A Milanese priest, Fr. Giussani devoted himself to the formation of students offering them direction in their lives and role models for inspiration.
At the beginning of the 1960s, he undertook evangelizing activities that communicated the faith with a contemporary and dynamic style with open and ongoing dialogues, as well as consistent reference to the Church’s Magisterium.
His innovative missionary outreach and exemplary witness of life led to the creation of the “Communion and Liberation” Movement during those years.
Pope Francis expressed his own gratitude for the inspirational role Fr. Giussani has had in his own priestly life, recalling the great influence he had in educating and animating the younger generations through his own passion for sharing the faith and helping it flourish in them with deep roots in their daily lives.
The Pope also recalled the turbulent era of the 1960s when Fr. Giussani taught and started his missionary outreach, and encouraged everyone to persevere today despite similar challenges and crises we face today.
“Times of crisis are opportunities for missionary renewal in light of the current ecclesial context, as well as the needs, sufferings, and hopes of contemporary humanity. Crisis can be turned into growth.”
The Pope spoke at length about Fr. Giussani’s legacy, charism, vocation as an educator, and his love for the Church.
Recalling his great personal charisma able to reach the hearts and minds thousands of young people, the Pope said this sprung from the faith he discovered as a youth when he experienced a sense of amazement and fascination in the mystery of Christ and God’s boundless love for all.
“Christ is the unifying center of all reality, the answer to all human questions, and the fulfillment of every desire for happiness, goodness, love, and eternity present in the human heart.”
In speaking about how to express the Movement’s charism in the changed world of our present time, the Pope said it is important to remember that the charism remains the same, but the way it is lived needs to be welcomed anew to bear fruit in today’s world. And this requires an attitude of humility.