Pope Francis to Communion and Liberation movement: “Crisis makes for growth”

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Some 50,000 members of the Communion and Liberation movement gathered in St. Peter's Square from around the world for an audience with Pope Francis to mark the centenary of the birth of the group's founder, Fr. Luigi Giussani. 

The group sang and listened to recorded reflections by their founder, before Pope Francis arrived on the popemobile to greet them. 

The Pope was welcomed by the movement's first lay president, Davide Prosperi, who was elected after the Vatican imposed term limits on the leaders of lay movements: a decision that some saw aimed at Communion and Liberation.

Members of the movement then shared their personal testimonies from CL with the Pope, such as Rose:

Even I, from Africa, have found a great Church family from the gaze of Fr. Giussani, who taught me to discover myself by recognizing a mysterious presence, that with time increasingly assumed the inimitable features of Christ.

The Pope then spoke to the crowd and addressed the period of transition in the movement, urging them to view it as an opportunity for growth.

Times of crisis are times for reviewing your extraordinary history of charity, culture, and mission; they are times for critically discerning what has limited the fruitful potential of Fr. Giussani's charism; they are times of renewal and missionary revival in light of the current moment in the Church, as well as the needs, sufferings and hopes of contemporary humanity. Crisis makes for growth. It should not be reduced to conflict, which destroys.

Pope Francis also told them not to lose sight of the original charism of finding life's meaning in a continual encounter with Christ, referencing Christ's calling of his first disciples at Galilee, and to live it out while serving the needs of the Church.

But alongside the service of authority, it is essential that, in all members of the movement, the charism remains alive, so that Christian life always retains the spirit of that first meeting. Don't ever forget that first call of Galilee, of that first encounter of Galilee, always go back to that, to that first Galilee that we have each lived. With this we will have strength to go forth in obedience to the Church.

Currently, CL has about 60,000 enrolled members throughout the world and is active in more than 90 countries. In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, traveled to Milan to celebrate the funeral mass for Fr. Giussani.


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