A Pope And A Miracle
I have just seen a miracle. Over ten thousand
people traveled to Rome from all over the
world to listen to a man, dressed in white.
In the crowd, important Cardinals and Bishops,
over one thousand priests, two thousand and
more eager seminarians, hundreds of couples
with children… all gathered in a hall named
after Pope Paul VI just beside the Vatican.
Among this excited crowd there were
families, many of them with children
six, seven..), who have felt the call
abandon everything (home, country,
job, extended family) and go to wherever
they are sent to give witness that
Christ is alive and is still able to
people from pain. Some families are
to Kazakhstan, others to Shanghai,
to Boston, others to Guam… All moved
gratitude for what Jesus Christ and
have done to them. Their only desire
share Him with others - compellingly,
with all their ingenuity and passion.
The Pope wanted to give them personally
missionary cross, which they will need
rely on as they evangelize. This entire
belongs to the Neocatechumenal Way.
The Pope loves this Way. You could see it
in his eyes, in his attitude, in his words...
In his address, Benedict XVI acknowledged
that in our few years of existence, the Neocatechumenal
communities "have been able to do much and from your communities
have come numerous vocations to the priesthood
and to the consecrated life." He presented Christ as the center
of the mission who, "celebrated in the
liturgical rites, constitutes a privileged
and indispensable way to build living and
persevering Christian communities."
It is beautiful to be in Guam and Saipan.
So much good work has already been
by the Church in the Marianas. So many
people in our parishes work selflessly
the Gospel. And there are things that
to be done. And this is possible only
Without each of us responding to Christ's
call to be evangelizers, the Church
her identity. Where the Church ceases
be missionary, she ceases to be herself.
Zeal cannot be delegated. But it can
and when shared, it multiplies like
One may wonder, why all this fuss?
all this urgency to bring Christ to
at all costs? One Sunday evening, a
surprised his son by taking him into
The place was crowded with men and
many of them bearing on their faces
of vice and crime; some were drunk.
of alcohol and tobacco were poisonous.
the father said to his son, "These
our people; these are the people I
to live for and bring to Christ."
later, this son became an evangelizer
he always said that what the impression
got that day never left him.
There is so much camouflaged suffering
us and Jesus Christ can relieve all
pain. But Jesus Christ needs to be
to people by other people. This is
of evangelization. This is the underlying
principle of the Neocatechumenal Way.
is why the Pope has long been an admirer
of this way of evangelization.
"I was a professor at Tübingen,
some people from the Neo-catechumenate
to me, including Toni Spandari, who
my student and now works in Munich.
young people were touched by the discovery
that the church needed a new post-baptismal
catechesis, which had to realize anew
personal and communitarian appropriation
in a common path.
Reflecting on baptism, I realized that
some time baptism had been almost a
sacrament in the church, yet it is
of our being Christian. Having studied
Fathers, in particular, I knew how
the sacrament was realized in a path
and for that reason I was happy that
might be a new beginning to this experience.
What the Neo-catechumenate understood,
fact, was precisely that even if we
as infants, we have to enter into the
of our baptism, we must throughout
life, naturally in diverse stages,
into this initiation into communion
Christ in the church.
I was happy that a path of renewal
be opened of this fundamental experience
of the church, and above all in a time
which the family and the schools are
as they once were, places of initiation
the faith and into communion with Christ
in the church."
This is what the then-Cardinal Ratzinger
said at the time of the grand assembly
new ecclesial realities in the church
by John Paul II for Pentecost 1998.
The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins
a powerful poem entitled 'The Wreck
Deutschland' that recalls the death
Franciscan nuns drowned on a German
on the river Thames in 1875.
In this poem, he used an atypical verb, 'Let
Him easter in us.' A rare verb indeed, but this is
what the zeal of the Gospel is all about.
Christ easters in us by giving us a hope
that constantly conquers discouragement and
the drive to bring this hope to others.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright