(Vatican Radio) “The Year of Faith is placing Jesus Christ at the very center of the
New Evangelization and we see the mission taking place and given life through so many
of these different Movements, through their particular ministries and outreaches,
they are proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ” says New Jersey native and Official
at the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, Fr. Gino Sylva.
This weekend tens of thousands of men, women and children descend on the Vatican to celebrate the Pentecost Vigil together with Pope Francis. Echoing similar celebrations that took place with his predecessors Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Holy Father has called the New Movements and Ecclesial Communities to Rome to invoke the Holy Spirit upon them and their continued mission in the life of the Church. Fr. Gino spoke to Emer McCarthy about the gathering Listen:
These realities – children of the Second Vatican Council – are becoming increasingly popular not only in mission territories but in the parishes and diocese of the ‘old Church’. They include movements such as Communion and Liberation, the Foccolari, the Neocatechumenal Way, the Saint’Egidio Community, New Horizons, the Emmanuel Community and many many more. Each community has its own particular history and charism, some are dedicated to promoting catechesis within parish life, others to outreach among young people, others still to inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. Yet all of them have one thing in common: Jesus Christ is at the very center of their every action.
Launching this weekend’s initiative Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, noted that, to effectively celebrate the Year of Faith, it was not possible to overlook a gathering with the ecclesial realities, which are one of the Council's most evident results.
“In organizing the Year of Faith,” Archbishop Fisichella said, “we hoped to create a moment of encounter, of prayer, exchange, and listening that would allow us to live and to continue along the path of the new evangelization with as much strength and motivation. … The objective and the purpose remain identical and common for all: to bring the joy of the Gospel to every person.”
“Over 120,000 people, in fact, have signalled their attendance. Around 150 different ecclesial realities coming from [around the world] are registered … attesting to the fact that the Church's catholicity knows no boundaries.”
Under the slogan, “I Believe! Increase our Faith”, the gathering will begin with a pilgrimage for the various groups to the tomb of St. Peter throughout the morning of 18 May starting from 7:00am. Then, at 3:00pm, a welcoming ceremony with reflection, music, and testimonials will be held in St. Peter's Square.
Of particular note, the famous Gen Verde group and a choir of over 150 singers belonging to the various movements will accompany those gathered until 6:00pm when the Holy Father Francis will join the celebration with a moment of prayer in front of the image of the Virgin Mary Salus Populi Romani.
The event will continue with two very meaningful testimonials from the Irish writer and editorialist John Waters and the Pakistani surgeon Paul Batthi. After that, representatives of the movements will ask the Holy Father some questions, which he will respond to spontaneously.
Among those present there will also be a large number of people with various disabilities, the parents of a child killed in the earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy, and Italian politicians belonging to the Communion and Liberation movement.
The event will conclude with the celebration of Mass, presided by Pope Francis, on Sunday, 19 May, at 10:00am in St. Peter's Square.