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Pope Francis to attend Charismatic Renewal gathering at Rome's Olympic Stadium

2014-05-27

Rome's Olympic Stadium, home to one of soccer's most heated rivalries is no stranger to inflamed passions from zealous fans. But on the first days of June, another passionate force will storm the field: Pope Francis will meet with 50,000 members of Italy's Catholic Charismatic Renewal. 

SALVATORE MARTINEZ
President, Catholic Charismatic Renewal (Italy)
"At the stadium, there are so many people that cheer on, and hope that the team of the heart scores. Pope Francis wants to score within the hearts of humanity, and that the person who scores is Jesus Christ, and that we can all take the field with him, to play this match. But it's an important match. We're playing for our lives, and for our our eternal lives.”

Each year, the Italian branch of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal organizes a large gathering in the coastal city of Rimini. But after the Pope's election, President Salvatore Martinez saw an opportunity to bring the movement to the heart of Catholicism. More so, with Pope Francis: a charismatic figure known to champion the Holy Spirit and the missionary spirit of the Church, two key components of the movement's charism.

SALVATORE MARTINEZ
President, Catholic Charismatic Renewal (Italy)
"The Pope wrote a letter titled the Joy of the Gospel. He talked about the need to spread the Gospel through praise, song and prayer. Not to be ashamed of calling yourself a Christian, to proclaim the Gospel as a living person, Jesus himself. We'll have all that here at the stadium, over two days, but especially with the Pope.”

The group's 37th annual gathering will take place from June 1-2 at the Olympic Stadium. But the Pope will be there on the evening of the first day. With all the excitement the Pope's visit brings to the gathering, Martinez said it'll be easier to spread the movement's main message.

SALVATORE MARTINEZ
President, Catholic Charismatic Renewal (Italy)
"Yes, we have an economic crisis, a political and moral crisis. But the answer is not among humanity. The solution is not in peace treaties or parliaments. The answer is within our hearts. Here in the stadium, with Pope Francis, we ask people to rediscover their inner life, an inner principle, a principle of a good spiritual life. Once rediscovered and tested, it can then be communicated and passed on to others.”

Several other high-ranking leaders within the Catholic Church will also take part in the gathering, including Cardinal Vicar Agostino Vallini and Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko. Also in attendance will be ambassadors, representatives from other denominations, and members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal from other parts of the world.


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