(Vatican Radio) Freedom, charism, communion: these were the three focal points of Pope Francis’ remarks to participants in the III World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities on Saturday morning in the Vatican. More than three hundred people from all around the world, representing the groups and communities founded in the wake of the II Vatican Council, have been gathered in Rome under the sponsorship of the Pontifical Council for the Laity to reflect on the joy of the Gospel as a specifically missionary joy.
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In remarks prepared for the occasion, Pope Francis called on participants and on all the members of new communities and movements to maintain the freshness of their charism, respect the freedom of each person, and always to strive for communion, telling them that their success in these regards will be the measure of their attainment of full ecclesial maturity. “The Movements and New Communities that you represent,” the Holy Father told his guests, “are moving towards a deeper sense of belonging to the Church, a maturity that requires vigilance in the path of daily conversion.”
The Holy Father said that, without an authentic conversion of heart and mind, the Gospel cannot be proclaimed, while at the same time, if we are not open to mission, conversion is not possible and faith becomes sterile. “Do not forget,” said Pope Francis, “that to reach this goal [of full ecclesial maturity], conversion must be missionary: the strength to overcome temptations and insufficiencies comes from the profound joy of proclaiming the Gospel, which is the foundation of your charisms.”