PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE LAITY
There is one event that stands out particularly for our Dicastery in the first half of this year, and that is the Pentecost Vigil encounter of the Holy Father with ecclesial movements and new communities.
The decision to meet these new Church groups is one of the most significant options taken by Benedict XVI. The Holy Father manifested this desire during the course of the first official audience granted to me as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. It was 14 May 2005 by an extraordinary coincidence, the vigil of Pentecost! The gathering of movements and communities with the Pope on 3 June was a sign of continuity with the magisterium of John Paul II who regarded this gift of the Spirit to the Church as a sign of hope for humanity in our times.
Pope Benedict XVI has been in contact with ecclesial movements for a long time and he has spoken of this on many occasions. His first contacts were in the nineteen-sixties when he was a professor in Tübingen, and from then on a real friendship developed. This was the difficult post-Council period, but as a theologian, he could see that these new charisms were a providential gift. During the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements organised by our Dicastery in 1998, he addressed these words to the participants: But then something suddenly happened which no one had planned. The Holy Spirit had, so to say, once again made his voice heard. The faith was reawakened, especially in young people, who eagerly embraced it without any ifs or buts, without subterfuges and reservations, and experienced it in its totality as a precious, life-giving gift.
Cardinal Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was an authoritative interpreter of the magisterium of John Paul II on ecclesial movements and new communities, and he became an attentive interlocutor giving them much wise advice. He could see in the movements powerful ways in which faith is present. In the way they work, there is something that really indicates the future, and the way in which they live out their role as creative minorities is, as Arnold Toynbee would say, crucial for the future of the world. Cardinal Ratzingers theological contribution to the definition of the ecclesial identity of movements is fundamental. According to him, in order to correctly set out the theological discourse on these new group forms, it is not enough to present a dialectic of principles that set institution against charism, because the Church is built organically and not dialectically. The right theological placing of movements in the Church is to be seen in apostolicity. This is the dimension from which emerges the special link that unites them to the ministry of the Successor of Peter. He said during the Congress in 1998: The papacy did not create the movements, but it did become their principal reference-point in the structure of the Church, their ecclesial support [ ] The pope has to rely on these ministries, they on him, and the collaboration between the two kinds of ministries completes the symphony of the Churchs life.
Since ascending to the Chair of Peter, Benedict XVI has been showing his concern for the ecclesial movements. On 21 August last year in Cologne, he said to the German bishops: The Church must make the most of these realities, and at the same time she must guide them with pastoral wisdom, so that with the variety of their different gifts they may contribute in the best possible way to building up the community [ ] The local Churches and movements are not in opposition to one another, but constitute the living structure of the Church. The desire to call them all to Rome for the Pentecost Vigil a second time arose from the high regard the Holy Father has for these groups. This high regard could also be seen in the pastoral concern he showed during the preparations which he followed closely and attentively.
The people of the movements and new communities were gathered in Rome on 3 June last to experience the mystery of Pentecost together with the Successor of Peter, to proclaim the joy of believing in Jesus Christ and to renew the commitment to be disciples in our times, and the Pope said to them: Pentecost is this: Jesus, and through him God himself, actually comes to us and draws us to himself. He sends forth the Holy Spirit [ ] through whom God comes to us, and brings us life and freedom. He went on to say that ecclesial movements were born precisely through a thirst for true life. They aim to be schools of freedom, the true freedom of children of God. The presence of the Spirit can be seen in their missionary zeal to proclaim the Lord among people without fear, arrogance or discouragement. He encouraged them to work, in their multiplicity, through the unity of the one Body, and he invited them to collaborate even more, very much more, in the Popes universal apostolic ministry, opening doors to Christ [ ] the Churchs best service for men and women.
The meeting between Benedict XVI and the movements was preceded by the Second World Congress of ecclesial movements and new communities on the theme The beauty of being a Christian and the joy of communicating it. The focus of both events, of which you can read more in the following pages, was the person of Christ, the fairest of the sons of men (psalm 45). The centre of reflection during the Congress was the question that inevitably arises for disciples of the Lord: How can we transmit the splendour of the beauty of Christ in todays world? This is the challenge we have to take on: to be witnesses to the beauty of Christ and his Gospel in the heart of the post-modern world and, as some would say, the post-Christian world.
The experience of the beauty of being Christian has been finding particularly fertile ground in the ecclesial movements and new communities. The charisms from which they were born has generated educational itineraries that continue to form groups of authentic witnesses to the beauty of Christ, Christians for whom faith is not at all a theory steeped in sentimentalism. It is a radical option for life that prompts them to be followers of the Lord. In this way, in the dullness of our world that is misled by mediocrity, there are lights of hope, places that emit the irresistible radiation of the Beauty that saves the world, to quote Dostoevsky. Christians should proclaim to the world that the Gospel is not utopia, but rather a path towards the fullness of life. Faith is not a burden or a yoke of oppression. It is a wonderful adventure that restores, with full humanity, all the dignity and freedom of the children of God. Christ is the only response to the desire for happiness that we hold in our hearts. In a word, they must allow that Beauty to shine out, a Beauty that has reached so many thanks to the ecclesial movements and new communities.
The Encounter of Pope Benedict XVI with Ecclesial Movements and New Communities
Pentecost 2006 will enter the history of ecclesial movements and new communities as a new milestone on their path of life and of service to the Church. On 3 June 2006, vigil of the solemnity, Pope Benedict XVI met with them in Saint Peters Square which was overflowing with people. The crowds filled the Via della Conciliazione and even beyond. Hundreds of thousands of people had come together from all over the world to meet with the Successor of Peter. They were responding to his invitation to celebrate the mystery of Pentecost together with him.
From the time this encounter was first announced, preparations for 3 June in Rome began with close collaboration between the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the movements and communities. Leaders from over 100 organisations expressed their gratitude to the Holy Father for the invitation and they helped with the preparations for this major ecclesial event. Followers of movements and communities, large and small, came together for this gathering. They included the Neocatechumenal Way, Communion and Liberation, Focolari and the many groupings within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. There were people from Regnum Christi, the Cursillo Movement, the SantEgidio Community, the Schönstatt Movement, the Christian Life Movement, the Emmanuel Community, the Pope John XXIII Community, Sermig, LArche, Faith and Light, the Teresian Association, Villaregia Missionary Community, Marianist Lay Communities, Teams of Our Lady, FASTA, the Living In Movement, the Work of Nazareth, the Prayer and Life Workshops, the Adsis Communities, and many more.
The years that have elapsed since that memorable experience of May 1998 when the first such meeting took place with the Servant of God John Paul II, were characterised by a significant growth in relations between the movements and new communities, and between them and the Pontifical Council for the Laity. These relations were lived in a spirit of communion and they brought about deeper awareness of each other and greater appreciation of their role in the work of the new evangelisation. Their contacts and collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Laity were very significant, for it is their common house and natural point of reference. Now, after this meeting with Benedict XVI, we expect further progress towards the goal of ecclesial maturity, the desire of John Paul II. The Holy Father spoke to the ecclesial movements and new communities in the homily he gave during the Pentecost First Vespers. His words were simple and deep, clear and profound, and they contributed to our common reflection on the multiformity of this ecclesial reality, a path that we journey together.
Setting out with the question who or what is the Holy Spirit? How can we recognize him? How do we go to him and how does he come to us? What does he do?, Benedict XVI developed the topic by emphasising the theme of life and freedom, the first gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the theme of unity, because the Spirit works with a view to the one body and in the unity of the one body. Life and freedom: these are the things for which we all yearn. But what is this - where and how do we find life?, the Pope asked.
He pointed out that it certainly cannot be found in the experience of the Prodigal Son of the Gospel: When all that people want from life is to take possession of it, it becomes ever emptier and poorer [ ] No, we do not find life in this way. [ ] It is only in giving life that it is found; life is not found by seeking to possess it. This is what we must learn from Christ; and the Holy Spirit teaches us that it is a pure gift, that it is Gods gift of himself. The more one gives ones life for others, for goodness itself, the more abundantly the river of life flows. This led to his appeal to the movements: Dear friends, the Movements were born precisely of the thirst for true life; they are Movements for life in every sense. Where the true source of life no longer flows, where people only appropriate life instead of giving it, wherever people are ready to dispose of unborn life because it seems to take up room in their own lives, it is there that the life of others is most at risk. If we want to protect life, then we must above all rediscover the source of life; then life itself must re-emerge in its full beauty and sublimeness; then we must let ourselves be enlivened by the Holy Spirit, the creative source of life. The Pope used the parable of the Prodigal Son also to speak about freedom: He wanted life and therefore desired to be totally liberated. Being free, in this perspective, means being able to do whatever I like, not being bound to accept any criterion other than and over and above myself. It means following my own desires and my own will alone. Those who live like this very soon clash with others who want to live the same way. The inevitable consequence of this selfish concept of freedom is violence and the mutual destruction of freedom and life. Christians know, however, that Holy Scripture teaches otherwise and that it connects the concept of freedom with that of sonship, and sons and daughters are not slaves. The Pope went on to say that true freedom is demonstrated in responsibility, in a way of behaving in which one takes upon oneself a shared responsibility for the world, for oneself and for others. [ ] He [the Holy Spirit] involves us in the same responsibility that God has for his world, for the whole of humanity. [ ] We do not do good as slaves who are not free to act otherwise, but we do it because we are personally responsible for the world; because we love truth and goodness, because we love God himself and therefore, also his creatures. This is the true freedom to which the Holy Spirit wants to lead us. For this reason, in order to be witnesses and promoters of this kind of freedom the Ecclesial Movements want to and must be schools of freedom, of this true freedom. [ ] In this world, so full of fictitious forms of freedom that destroy the environment and the human being, let us learn true freedom by the power of the Holy Spirit; to build the school of freedom; to show others by our lives that we are free and how beautiful it is to be truly free with the true freedom of Gods children.
Together with life and freedom, the Holy Spirit also brings unity. This unity does not mean uniformity, because in him multiplicity and unity go hand in hand. It is this that the Spirit wishes for the movements, the Pope explained as he spoke to the crowds of people from so many organisations: He wants your diversity and he wants you for the one body, in union with the permanent orders the joints of the Church, with the successors of the Apostles and with the Successor of St Peter.
The Pope at this point asked for renewal in missionary zeal in which the presence of the Holy Spirit can be seen, zeal in proclamation and witness within families, in the workplace and in every aspect of existence. There should be no discouragement or limits, but they should collaborate more and more with the Church: Dear friends, I ask you to collaborate even more, very much more, in the Popes universal apostolic ministry, opening doors to Christ. This is the Churchs best service for men and women and especially for the poor, so that the persons life, a fairer order in society and peaceful coexistence among the nations may find in Christ the cornerstone on which to build the genuine civilization, the civilization of love. In Saint Peters Square there were two hours of activities in preparation for the First Vespers. This was introduced by Bishop Clemens. There were songs led by a choir that came together for the occasion and was composed of members of movements and new communities; personal accounts of the Congress in Rocca di Papa; a short video about the meeting in May 1998 including words by Pope John Paul II and the founders of some of the movements; readings from the writings of the then-Cardinal Ratzinger concerning the movements and from the encyclical Deus caritas est by Benedict XVI. When the Holy Father arrived, he went among the crowds in the popemobile along the pathways in the Square and right down the Via della Conciliazione so that everyone could feel they were near him. This was a symbolic embrace of the crowds that took half an hour, and it was followed by a greeting by Archbishop Ryłko who spoke on everyones behalf in thanking the Pope for the gift of that encounter and for the fruits of holy lives, of communion, of courage and missionary creativity that these new charisms cause to flourish in the Church of our times and that are truly signs of a new Christian springtime.
Chiara Lubich who was absent for health reasons, wished to participate through a message that was read in her name following the greeting by Archbishop Ryłko. The Pentecost First Vespers were enriched by commentaries to the psalms and canticle by Andrea Riccardi, founder of the SantEgidio Community, by Kiko Argüello, initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way, and by Reverend Julián Carrón, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. Their words were meditations on the themes of the psalms and the canticle enriched by the experience of their own movements, an expression of the diversity of which the Holy Father had spoken during his homily. A charism yields fruit with prayer and with the heart of children. Because it is a gift!, Andrea Riccardi said. He spoke of how prayer helps us not to give up and not to give in to the poverty and sterility of todays world, but how it is the material where a charism is not extinguished nor emptied by pride, but where it yields fruit. Kiko Argüello also spoke of these new charisms as he presented them to the Holy Father as new realities that the Holy Spirit has given rise to in order to help priests, parishes, bishops and the Pope. They are the way in which the Lord rebuilds Jerusalem today. Reverend Julián Carrón spoke of how the dramatic situation of the world today, poor and lacking in meaning, makes more urgent the poignant question posed by Christ: And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Lk 18:8). Answering this question makes us more aware of the importance of this meeting and of the urgency of the task we are called to. Following the Popes homily, there was a memorial of the sacrament of Confirmation. With the music of the choir and orchestra directed by Msgr Marco Frisina that guided the vespers, and with the words of a prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit, seven members of movements and new communities each lit torches representing the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful. A cold wind, unusual in Rome at the start of June, continued during the ceremony. It was mentioned several times during the evening that this wind was a reminder of the strong wind felt at the first Pentecost that impelled the first disciples to spread the gospel message to all peoples. This wind still calls us today to go forth, to feel impelled and also guided towards the peoples of our times to proclaim the beauty of encountering Christ.
Second World Congress of ecclesial movements and new communities
In the days leading up to the Pentecost Vigil in Saint Peters Square, we held the Second World Congress of ecclesial movements and new communities in Rocca di Papa near Rome from 31 May to 2 June 2006. The theme was The beauty of being a Christian and the joy of communicating it. The Pontifical Council for the Laity gathered together over 300 delegates from different countries and Church movements to reflect on the theme inspired by a statement made by Benedict XVI during his homily at the Mass for the inauguration of the pontificate on 24 April 2005: There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The aim of the Congress was to reflect on the very nature of being Christian, how it is lived out in the movements and new communities, on the education provided, and how it is communicated in order to meet the expectations and desires of people today.
It was not meant as an occasion for movements and new communities to present themselves. They already have decades of history and are spread far and wide in the Church. Most of these new groups already have canonical recognition by the Holy See and they work in the local Churches on all continents. The well remembered experience of 30 May 1998 contributed to greater awareness of the nature, service and activities of these movements who help to build the Church and renew its mission.
The Second Congress aimed for further growth towards ecclesial maturity, something called for by John Paul II. It was also a wonderful opportunity to share the richness of charisms, to point out the importance of education and to renew missionary thrust.
Among the 300 participants at the Congress there were founders, initiators and leaders of about 100 ecclesial movements, most of which are recognised by the Holy See at an international level. There were also a few groups that are recognised at the diocesan level and are present in several local Churches. The guests included representatives of certain Roman Curia offices, members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, about forty bishops from around the world, and observers from various Catholic institutions and delegates from other Churches and Christian confessions.
The Holy Fathers message to the Congress was very rich in content. The Pope called on the movements to bring Christs light to all the social and cultural milieus in which you live [ ] Dispel the darkness of a world overwhelmed by the contradictory messages of ideologies! There us no valid beauty if there is not a truth to recognize and follow, if love gives way to transitory sentiment, if happiness becomes an elusive mirage or if freedom degenerates into instinct. He goes on to say: Take the witness of the freedom with which Christ set us free to this troubled world.
The extraordinary fusion between love of God and love of neighbour makes life beautiful and causes the desert in which we often find ourselves living to blossom anew . Archbishop Stanisław Ryłko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, read the message to the participants at the start of the session. He spoke of the journey travelled during these eight years since the meeting with John Paul II in 1998 and mentioned the signs of ecclesial maturity in the movements. This includes ever closer communion with the Pope and the pastors where all share their charismatic gifts; missionary engagement. The charisms [ ] generate itineraries of Christian initiation [ ] that bring people to live their faith with evangelical fervour; Maturity, this youthfulness of spirit [ ] fruit of their daily fidelity to the charism that gave rise to them.
The three principle talks were given by Cardinals Christopher Schönborn, O.P., Marc Ouellet, P.S.S. and Angelo Scola who spoke on, respectively, the Christological aspects (Christ, the most beautiful among the sons of Adam), ecclesiological (The beauty of being a Christian) and pastoral (Ecclesial movements and new communities in the mission of the Church: priorities and perspectives). Cardinal Schönborn in his talk said that this Congress in preparation for the Pentecost meeting has the purpose of seeing how the seeds of beauty sown by Christ are growing and bringing forth fruit.
Christ himself is beauty, therefore the true, the good and the beautiful are not attributes exterior to God but coincide with the very being of God. God is Truth, Good, Love, Beauty. Jesus Christ brings us towards his own beauty, a divine beauty that was made accessible through his incarnation. To open up to Christ is to allow a wave of beauty to flow over us, on the world tainted by sin and disfigured by evil. The most precious fruit of the beauty of Christ is holiness: there is nothing more beautiful in the world than holiness. We could say of saints that which the letter to the Hebrews said about Christ: they are like the radiance of the glory of God. The Cardinal went on to describe the face of Christ that appears in the psalms: the face of a man of sorrows, abandoned by men, an object of scorn, a face without beauty that repels our gaze. It is the face of the Crucified One. However, it is from the cross that a different beauty springs forth, that of mercy. It is this love that led Saint Paul to say: I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada, posed some questions as a basis for his talk: Is aesthetics really the right path for the Church to follow today? In a certain sense, does Christianity today, uprooted from its living forces, run the risk of being tied to the cultural residue of an earlier epoch? He went on to say that he would dare to bet that the way of beauty is the way of the ecclesial movements and new communities, and that perhaps now, at the start of the third millennium, our point of departure is the beauty of Christ.
He referred to Hans Urs von Balthasar who said that the way of beauty goes out to meet the deepest yearnings of the human heart. He pointed out that today it is crucial that we explore the way of beauty because the outlook of truth and goodness is not so strong among people nowadays because they are caught up in scepticism and relativism. It is the task of the Christian to restore harmony between truth, goodness and freedom, setting out from an encounter with Christ that reawakens the hearts of human beings and gives meaning to their lives by opening them up to the totality of reality.
The keynote speech on the last day of the Congress, Friday 2 June, was given by the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola who outlined the priorities and perspectives of ecclesial movements and new communities in the mission of the Church. He reminded us that the driving force of the mission of individuals and the Christian community is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The term co-essentiality when used in reference to the institutional and charismatic dimensions of the Church, are not two components from which the dialectical synthesis gives rise to the reality of the Church. The word co-essentiality means, on the contrary, the dual unity proper to the Church event as such: the institutional and the charismatic are dimensions of every action carried out by the Church. Cardinal Scola said that it was specious and mistaken to relegate movements to the charismatic dimension and dioceses, parishes and traditional groups to the institutional. Both of these dimensions, to varying degrees, are constitutive of each and every group. The Cardinal went on to say that to speak of perspectives and priorities is to indicate the essential conditions to which movements and communities should remain faithful if they want the gratuitous origin of their experience to become a permanent source of the free adherence of each of their members to an encounter with the Lord and a welcome path for the mission to our fellow human beings. Therefore, it is not a case of inventing new programmes or pastoral plans, but to comprehend how to remain faithful to ones charism and to continue to pass it on at times of generational change. It is about demonstrating the fecundity of these new charisms to the extent to which they succeed in showing that Jesus Christ is present today. However, it is necessary to avoid the great risk of undue homologising. The mission of movements and new communities does not require that all must proceed the same way.
Cardinal Scola added that, the time has come to recognise that action and reflection on the mission of the new movements in the Church can no longer be seen as a chapter apart. It must necessarily take place within the universal Church and the local Churches, in the joint symphony of all groupings of the laity, both new and traditional.
The panel discussion provided an opportunity to look at two important dimensions of the movements and new communities: their educational itineraries and their witness to the beauty of Christ in the world today. The speakers were founders and leaders of the largest movements and communities, as well as experts in this field. The discussions and the working groups that followed the keynote speeches allowed participants to enrich the Congress with their experience and reflections. The Pontifical Council for the Laity is working on producing the Congress Proceedings, and this will be published in various languages in the coming months. This will serve as an important instrument in continuing the reflection.
The Congress took place in a climate of friendship, and this could be appreciated in the sessions as well as during intervals and meals which provided opportunities for mutual acquaintance and exchange. On the evening of 1 June there was a classical music recital, and on the evening of 2 June after the sessions, movements and new communities took the responsibility of organising encounters and prayer vigils in basilicas and churches of Rome.
Pilgrims to the eternal city had this special opportunity for prayer and spiritual preparation for the Pentecost Vigil in which they could open their hearts to welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit in communion with the Pope.
First Congress of ecclesial movements and new communities in Latin America
One hundred and twenty-two leaders of forty-five movements and new communities from twenty-three Latin American countries gathered together in Bogotá in Colombia to reflect on the figure of the Christian. This was the first Congress of ecclesial movements and new communities in Latin America, and it took place from 9 to 12 March 2006. They were joined by thirty-two bishops, the president of the Latin American Episcopal Council and, representing the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Archbishop Stanisław Ryłko, Bishop Josef Clemens, Guzmán Carriquiry and Roberto Ragusa.
The Congress was organised by the Latin American Episcopal Council in collaboration with our dicastery. Its purpose was to centre reflection on the disciple of Christ because we cannot speak of the new evangelisation without first looking at the kind of person who is called to carry it out. When discussing the challenges that Christians face today, the Congress participants identified three priorities that they agreed to undertake in the name of the ecclesial movements and new communities they were representing.
These priorities were stated in the letter that the participants addressed to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI at the end of the Congress. In the letter they express their gratitude for the concern with which the Pope had followed the Congress, and for the message that was sent to the participants through Cardinal Sodano. It had given them a word of guidance that testified to the paternal closeness to the Latin American Church and people shown by the Pope, an embrace filled with love and hope.
The first and major priority presented in the letter is Christian education. The ability of the adult generations to educate their own children is in crisis, the document tells us. People live as if truth did not exist, as if the desire for happiness that is deep-rooted in the human heart were to be left without an answer. The influence of this culture also affects the baptised to the extent that it generates Christian personalities that are weak and confused. Before this challenge, then, movements and new communities offer their own faith development training where they express the originality of their charism, each of which bases the educational process of the person on a specific pedagogy centred on a personal encounter with the living Christ.
The second great need is that of offering to the world a strong proclamation. Christian training must always contain a missionary aspect. Mission helps us to fully discover our own baptismal vocation, it keeps us from the temptation to selfishly close in on ourselves, it guards us from the danger of seeing our movements as a kind of refuge where, in a climate of warm friendship, we are protected from the problems of the world. During the Congress, the missionary engagement of ecclesial movements and new communities was illustrated and the undeniable ability they have to reawaken apostolic enthusiasm and missionary courage among the laity. In their letter to the Pope the participants stated that in this way, we respond to one of the greatest needs of the Church in our times, that is, adult catechesis, understood as authentic Christian initiation that reveals to them the value and beauty of the sacrament of Baptism.
The movements and new communities appreciate the deep-rooted sense of mystery manifested in popular piety among the peoples of Latin America, and they offer styles of evangelisation that can effectively guide devotion towards the faith development of disciples and missionaries of Christ. It was also seen how naturally and courageously lay movements enter the difficult frontiers of the modern areopagi of culture, of social communications media, of the economy and politics to encourage the building of more dignified ways of life for each and every person. In addition, there was emphasis on the importance of the insertion of the movements and new communities in the local Churches in order to become eloquent signs of the universality of the Church and its mission.
Last but not least is the engagement undertaken by the movements and new communities to give special attention to the suffering, poor and marginalised. In their letter to the Pope they said, Faced with so many new and old forms of poverty that we live with in Latin America (and that constitute a sharp and worrying contradiction to the Catholic tradition of our peoples), we wish to strive, as taught in the encyclical Deus caritas est, to creatively design and sustain works and projects that will demonstrate the love of God for each person who suffers, and will open ways for the transforming power of charity with regard to the major challenges of greater justice, solidarity, peace and unity in the life of our peoples.
One of the objectives of the Congress was to offer a contribution to the preparation of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate that is scheduled to take place in Aparecida (Brazil) in May 2007 with the theme Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ so that the peoples may have life in Him. I am the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). For this reason, the letter to the Holy Father concludes with, everywhere we shall strive from now on to encourage exchanges of experience, reflections and proposals that could help towards a path of preparation for this important event.
The talks and panel discussion contributions will be gathered in the book of proceedings to be published by the Latin American Episcopal Council.
22nd Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
From 20 to 24 September 2006 the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity will be held at Villa Aurelia (via Leone XIII, 459) in Rome.
As our readers will surely remember, in the last Plenary Assembly held in November 2004, the Pontifical Council for the Laity set out to direct the attention of the members and consultors towards the parish. The theme on that occasion was: Rediscovering the true meaning of the parish. Recalling that Assembly brings back happy and grateful memories of our dicasterys last meeting with the late Pope John Paul II. He had always been close to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, not only during his pontificate, but also as Cardinal Archbishop of Cracow when he was a very reliable and active consultor of our dicastery.
During the last Assembly we placed emphasis on the new challenges coming from an increasingly more secularised and globalised world, and on possible pastoral orientations that parishes should adopt in order to give convincing responses. Time was given to summarising existing reflection in this area, to juridical-pastoral considerations, and to making very general proposals through the collection of guidelines for basic programmes.
The proceedings of the 21st Plenary Assembly were published in Italian in 2005 under the title Riscoprire il vero volto della parrocchia [Rediscovering the true meaning of the parish].
The next Plenary Assembly will also deal with the parish and will complement the work done in the previous Assembly by following the programme agreed on at that time by the members and consultors. The theme will be: The parish rediscovered. Paths to renewal.
The objective this time is to present the new forms of parochial life that arose after Vatican II. Discussions will not be based on theoretical projections but on analysis of the numerous experiences of renewal that have been undertaken around the world. The sessions will be structured in a way to best carry out this objective. There will be just one lecture of a general nature dealing with the present state of reflection on renewal of the parish and on the new perspectives that are opening up. There will be numerous other interventions coordinated in panel discussions or dialogues, and they will deal with the concrete experience of laity and priests, movements and new communities, and pastoral and organisational projects on the ground that are active in parish renewal.
This method of allowing for more panel discussions and open debate was adopted to allow for ample space for interventions and testimonies, and so that members and consultors coming from all over the world may enrich the topic by speaking of the successful initiatives that have come to their notice.
International Seminar organized by the Church and Sport Section
Our Church and sport section conducted an international seminar on the theme The Christian mission in the field of sport today this past November 11th and 12th at the offices of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. It was a unique and historic event for both this new section as well as the Holy See in that it was the first time a Vatican office had dedicated a seminar to the study of the global phenomenon of sport. The idea behind the seminar was to conduct a preliminary analysis of the vast world of sport in all of its complexities in order to offer to the members of the dicastery as well as its participants a panoramic overview of sport, while at the same time bringing into focus the most critical questions and challenges that directly concern this section.
The first day consisted in an analysis of the global phenomenon of sport together with its anthropological, cultural, educational, and ethical repercussions within contemporary society. His Excellency, Archbishop Stanisław Ryłko, initiated the work of the seminar with an opening address that situated sport in two important contexts: a global context that involves both the spectator as well as the amateur or professional athlete; and within the context of a new evangelization -sport considered as an appropriate field for the Churchs mission of extending Christs Kingdom. The Italian sport historian, Dr. Maria Aiello, offered a review of the development of sport from ancient Greece up to the modern day. This was followed by a talk on the theme Sport in contemporary culture by Dr. Dietmar Mieth, moral theologian at the University of Tübingen, who outlined some of the values and principles upon which a Christian sport ethic could be elaborated.
That afternoons panel discussion on The problems and challenges in todays sports confronted such issues as commercialization, violence, doping and the use of media in sport. Among the panelists were Jesuit professor and former college coach, Rev. Vincent Capuano, SJ of the University of Salta, Argentina; Professor Clark Power of Notre Dame University, USA; Elaine Raakman of Just Play Sports of Canada; Dr. Pasquale Bellotti of the University La Sapienza (Italy); and Fabrizio Maffei of Rai Sport, Italy. The president of the Centro Sportivo Italiano, Edio Costantini concluded the day with a talk on the Opportunities and resources for renewal in sport, exploring its educative and formative dimensions especially as viewed through the rich tradition in Italy of the parish oratory which is still a viable model today whether affiliated with or independent from the parish.
The second day of work began with an organic synthesis of the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church regarding sporting activity, conducted by Msgr. Carlo Mazza, director of the Office for tourism, leisure and sport within the Italian Bishops Conference.
Msgr. Mazza noted that of the more than 200 discourses on sport found in the writings of the Pontiffs from Pius X up to the present, three speeches were from Saint Pius X, twenty attributed to Pius XII, thirty five to Pope Paul VI, and more than 120 from Pope John Paul II. As the writings of the Magisterium serve as the foundation and orientation of our present work as well as a guide for an ongoing study and research in this field, this conference animated the rest of the days work which explored some of the ways a Christian presence can be fostered in the world of sport and qualified some of the specific resources and structures within the Church that can be further developed to serve this end.
The panel discussion entitled Sport: frontier of the new evangelization featured panelists from a wide range of fields of pastoral work in sport: Prof. Norbert Müller, long time consultant to the International Olympic Committee and an expert on Pierre de Coubertin; Jeff Suppan, Major League Baseball pitcher from the St. Louis Cardinals; Clément Schertzinger, president of F.I.C.E.P., a Catholic sports federation prevalent in Europe; Msgr. Fortunato Frezza, chaplain of the professional soccer team Roma; Arturo Salah, former coach of Chiles national soccer team; and Rev. Hans-Gerd Schütt, chaplain of the German Olympic team. In the discussion that followed, several people commented on the significant role that the coach can have on the players human and spiritual development.
In some countries, for instance, children spend only twenty hours a year with a catechist, but often spend more than 200 hours a year with a coach in a sports program run by the local parish or Catholic school.
In the afternoon, Rev. Kevin Lixey, LC presented the goals and objectives of the Church and sport section in order to receive feedback from the participants in light of what was seen during the seminar. Two specific fields of work flow out of the seminar: the academic field that will continue to study the teachings of the Church regarding sport; and the field of pastoral work in and through sport that will seek to discover and promote the best pastoral practices that are being implemented at the local level. His Excellency Bishop Josef Clemens, in concluding the seminar, pointed out the need for the Church and sport section to be a point of reference and a proficient voice for the world of sport. He also noted the unique window of opportunity that sport opens to the Church as it searches for solutions to the problems of violence and doping that can only be resolved with a sound anthropology of the person that recognizes and values the spiritual as well as the bodily dimension. In this regard this section could also serve as a possible bridge between believer and non believer as well as an areopagus of ongoing reflection and dialogue.
The seminar also served as a means of gathering an initial group of persons who have expertise in various fields of sport. Forty five participants from 18 different countries teamed up with our dicastery, representatives from a range of fields that included scholars, directors of Catholic sports associations and sport apostolates run by lay movements, professional athletes, coaches, team managers, and representatives from National Bishop Conferences who head up a similar office for the pastoral ministry of sport at the national level. In fact, we were pleased to have in attendance representatives from the Church and Sport offices of the National Bishop Conferences of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Poland. This active participation from nearly all continents of the world revealed some of the unique aspects to consider in promoting a pastoral ministry for sport at the local level, and at the same time, it provided an opportunity to exchange ideas and gather suggestions and initiatives that can be of service to the Universal Church.
The seminar has provided us with an initial, yet comprehensive foundation upon which to construct the future work of this section. We hope that the proceedings from the seminar, which will soon be published in Italian and English, can serve as a preliminary guide for those involved in pastoral work through sport. While being well aware of the dangers that sport can occasion when the centrality of the human person is ignored, we are more cognizant of the pastoral opportunities that the sound practice of sport can afford. At the General Audience of September 21, 2005, as Pope Benedict XVI greeted participants of the Calcio-Cares initiative in collaboration with the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, he pointed out that Sport, when it is a discipline practised with respect for the rules, can become an educational tool and a means of important human and spiritual values. This section, while working in collaboration with sporting associations, athletes, scholars, movements, religious orders and bishop conferences, will seek to renew this educational and formational potential in the exercise of sport at all levels, in order that it can be at the service of the person and the proclamation of the gospel, as well as a place of friendly encounter and dialogue among peoples.
An itinerary of catechesis
The publication of the Message addressed by Benedict XVI to the youth of the world on 22 February last, marked the start of the pastoral journey of preparation for the Sydney WYD. The Pope wrote towards the end of his Message: we will set out, in our hearts, on a pilgrimage towards the world encounter with young people that will take place in Sydney in July 2008.
The decision to announce the themes for three consecutive WYDs has borne fruit on previous occasions. It was done for the three years leading up to the Jubilee of 2000 and again between the WYDs in Toronto and Cologne. In making known the themes for the next three years, the Holy Father is pointing out the direction and trail to follow. He indicates the main stages of a spiritual journey that will lead up to the world meeting in Sydney scheduled for 15 to 20 July 2008. The three themes will be our points of reference on the journey.
2006 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Ps 119:105)
2007 Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another (Jn 13:34)
2008 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8)
In the first Message addressed by Benedict XVI to the youth of the world, he writes: We will prepare for that great appointment reflecting together on the theme The Holy Spirit and the mission in successive stages. The Holy Spirit is not only the underlying theme of the spiritual preparation for WYD, but it is also a dynamic element joining the three themes. This is a kind of triptych through which the Pope invites us to rediscover and contemplate the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Most Holy Trinity, as Spirit of truth, Spirit of love, Spirit of fortitude and witness.
The Holy Fathers indications for 2006 can be seen in his Message: This year our attention will focus on the Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, who reveals Christ to us, the Word made flesh, opening the heart of each one to the Word of salvation that leads to the fullness of Truth. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals Christ and allows us to meet him personally and to recognise that he is a living Person. It is the Holy Spirit who opens our hearts to the Word of God and helps our comprehension and so leads us towards the whole Truth.
The Messages addressed by the Holy Father to young people in 2007 and 2008 will be necessary tools in leading reflection on the next two stages of the pastoral preparation for the 23rd World Youth Day, but we can already see some indications from the Holy Father in this years Message.
Pope Benedict XVI introduces the second panel of the triptych when he writes: Next year, 2007, we will meditate on a verse from the Gospel of John: Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another (13:34). We will discover more about the Holy Spirit, Spirit of Love, who infuses divine charity within us and makes us aware of the material and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters. Just as the Holy Spirit enlightens the eyes of our hearts (cf Eph 1:18) leading us to comprehension of Scripture, our eyes are also opened to see others and to experience the compassion of Christ for these people, especially for those who suffer. We are impelled to approach them to alleviate their pain and to comfort and love them. The Holy Spirit, Spirit of love, comes to transform our hearts by opening them up to others, and to put the Word of God into practice by putting charity into practice.
The third and final stage of the preparation contains the orientation of the whole pastoral programme because it also includes the goal of our pilgrimage. Pope Benedict XVI writes in his Message to the youth of the world: We will finally reach the world meeting of 2008 and its theme will be: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8). This verse illustrates the basic link between the Holy Spirit and mission which is the underlying theme of the whole pastoral journey.
The light of truth and flames of charity that the Holy Spirit inspires in our hearts, give rise to our desire for all human beings to attain salvation, and so we are impelled to evangelise. This last stage of the journey will invite young people to open up fully to the Holy Spirit, Spirit of fortitude and witness, and to allow themselves to be renewed by divine power as the apostles did at Pentecost.
In order to respond to this call, it is good to recall the event on which the history of the Church and its mission are founded. The promise Jesus made to his apostles shortly before the Ascension, came to pass at Pentecost forty days later when the apostles were gathered in the Cenacle with the Blessed Virgin Mary and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Totally renewed in their whole being, the apostles became aware of the new force that led them to overcome difficulties and persecutions and go forth to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth (cf Acts 1:8).
The theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for WYD 2008 also takes into consideration the situation of the Australian Church. Today it is facing a wave of secularisation that John Paul II mentioned in the post-synodal exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania of 22 November 2001:
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church in Oceania is preparing for a new evangelization of peoples who today are hungering for Christ. [ ] The Church has to fulfill her evangelizing mission in an increasingly secularized world. [ ] A new evangelization is the first priority for the Church in Oceania. In one sense, the mission of the Church is simple and clear: to propose once again to human society the entire Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ (cf n.18).
In following this journey of preparation for WYD in Sydney presented by the Pope, young people can rediscover the Holy Spirit and open up to evangelisation. A large turnout will be a sign of hope for the world and be a considerable support for the young Australians who will host them. At the same time, your local Churches will benefit from a new incentive towards mission.
Do not hesitate to remind the young people of the Holy Fathers recommendation in his Message for 2006: From this moment onwards, my dear young friends, in a climate of constant listening to the word of God, call on the Holy Spirit, Spirit of fortitude and witness, that you may be able to proclaim the Gospel without fear even to the ends of the earth.
International meeting of youth ministry leaders
Youth ministry leaders from around the world were invited by the Pontifical Council for the Laity to meet in Sassone di Ciampino from 7 to 9 April. This coincided with the 21st WYD being celebrated locally worldwide and that follows the itinerary laid out by Pope Benedict XVI for the next three years. This was the first of the international preparatory meetings for the Sydney WYD scheduled to take place in 2008, and the presence of the organising committees from Cologne 2005 and Sydney 2008 provided much material for reflection for youth ministers. The atmosphere at these preparatory meetings always shows the unity of the Church in its diversity during times of prayer, debate and reflection and also in its times of joy and festivity.
The meeting brought together 250 people who were delegates from 85 countries and representatives from 45 communities, associations and movements. This turnout and the organisational effort show that WYD has become a major landmark for day-to-day youth ministry around the world. The well-loved Pope John Paul II instituted the event and through it the special relationship between young people and the Church is made visible. In its over twenty year history it has travelled the world and reached new continents.
The first day, Friday 7 April, began with Holy Mass presided by Archbishop Stanisław Ryłko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who said: With this Eucharistic Celebration we entrust to the Lord these very full days of work that await us. We also give thanks to God for the gift of the Cologne World Youth Day the first presided by Pope Benedict XVI and for the fruit that this is generating among the great number of young people who took part. We place in the Lords hands all of our pastoral preparation for the upcoming World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.
In his introductory remarks, he pointed out that each time that we initiate a new phase of preparation for the next WYD, we are presented with the question of how to establish a firm connection between the festive aspect of the celebration and the ordinary pastoral engagement of the local Churches with young people. WYD is not an isolated event. It is not enough if it stands alone. Each WYD must be backed up by pastoral work in the local Churches and parishes and also in the educational activities of the ecclesial associations and movements. [ ] There should be continuity between this special event and the day-to-day life of young people. They should be helped to assimilate the message of each WYD.
Msgr Francis Kohn, head of the Youth Section, introduced the programme of the meeting. That day was dedicated to making an assessment of WYD in Cologne. There were interventions by Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, Msgr Heiner Koch and Mr Hermann-Josef Johanns, the leaders of the Cologne 2005 organising committee. They spoke of the pastoral and logistic challenges that had faced the Cologne organisers. This was followed by open debate in which the youth representatives present spoke of the warm welcome they had received in Germany, while also pointing out that each WYD should learn from the experience accumulated from previous events.
Cardinal Joachim Meisner, in speaking of the fruits of WYD for the archdiocese of Cologne, noted that faith is contagious when it is lived and shared in joy. If you do not know where to hold the next WYD, come back to Cologne! The event had brought a breath of fresh air to the Catholicism of the Rhineland. He had noticed many positive changes. The behaviour of the young pilgrims had been exemplary and the people of Cologne were very impressed by that. The attitude of the media had gradually changed and become more favourable. The most positive changes were seen in the life of the Cologne and German Church, to such an extent that 2005 is seen as an annus Catholicus.
The session on Saturday 8 April began with a talk by Bishop Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He outlined the pastoral process of preparation for Sydney. In referring to the Holy Fathers Message to young people, he said: In making known the themes for the next three years, the Holy Father is pointing out the direction and trail to follow. He indicates the main stages of a spiritual journey that will lead up to the world meeting in Sydney scheduled for 15 to 20 July 2008 [see preceding article].
Before the sessions began, there was Holy Mass presided by Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney. During the sessions, he explained the reasons for which Sydney had been chosen, and also the challenges and expectations for the Australia Church. Why did the Holy Father choose Sydney? Why did the Australian Church apply to host WYD? We did so in order to strengthen the faith of our young people. I love Australia and its people, but most of them dont pay much heed to religion. The main challenge, according to Cardinal Pell, is to organise a religious event, a WYD that is able to call pilgrims to conversion. WYD will certainly not be a once-off event. It is seen in a much wider sense of re-evangelisation.
The coordinator of the Local organising Committee of Sydney 2008, Bishop Anthony Fisher, presented the Australian Church and the people who form part of the Organising Committee and their responsibilities. The logo for WYD 2008 was launched and the elements explained: the pentecostal flames of the Holy Spirit that also represent the Trinity and the harsh Australia outback, the power of the Spirit who will gather pilgrims from all over the world, the white cross standing as a sign of victory to signify that Jesus is the light, and the sails of the Opera House, symbol of Sydney, form the petals of a flower; the writing is in blue to recall the waters of Oceania as well as those of Baptism. The Meeting also marked the opening of the website www.wyd2008.org. The website offers a virtual pilgrimage to Sydney as well as giving the latest information.
Bishop Fisher spoke of a young Church in which the first Catholics, Irish colonists, arrived in Australia in the mid seventeen hundreds. The first priests were sent there in the nineteenth century. From the beginning it was called after the Holy Spirit: Terra Australis de Spiritu Sancto was the name given to this immense territory. Today the Catholic faith is the most diffuse (33% approximately). Catholics have very different places of origin. It is a young and dynamic Church in a place where secularisation is felt. A need is perceived for a new evangelisation. This is why, as Bishop Fisher emphasised, the challenge of WYD is that things should not remain the same as before.
There were addresses by the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, the Hon. Morris Iemma, Prime Minister of New South Wales, and H.E. Anne Maree Plunkett, Ambassador designate to the Holy See, and they emphasised the importance given by the Australian government to the event and the efforts they would undertake in order to ensure the success of WYD.
Ample time was given to questions, suggestions and requests from the representatives of bishops conferences and ecclesial youth movements, associations and communities from around the world. In the evening there was a taste of Australian festivities animated by sixty young people who had come to Rome to receive the WYD Cross from the youth of Germany.
On Sunday 9 April, the delegates concluded the meeting by taking part in Palm Sunday Mass presided by Benedict XVI in Saint Peters Square. This was also the Rome diocesan celebration of World Youth Day. The celebration included the traditional handover of the WYD Cross, this time from the Germans to the Australians, a moment of deep emotion that is a concrete sign of passing the baton among the youth of the world.
The WYD Cross in Africa for the first time
In Saint Peters Square on 9 April 2006, a large crowd celebrated Palm Sunday with Pope Benedict XVI. At the end of Mass, in the presence of the Holy Father, there was the traditional handover of the WYD Cross and Icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani. The young Germans, hosts of WYD 2005 in Cologne, handed the Cross over to their peers from Australia who will host WYD in Sydney in July 2008.
The Pope then announced that next February the Cross would commence its pilgrimage around Oceania in preparation for WYD 2008, and that until then the Cross would make stops in some countries of Africa to manifest Christs closeness and that of his Mother to the people of that Continent, tried by great suffering (Benedict XVI, Angelus, 9 April 2006). Perhaps this continent has more need than any other for the hope that the Cross can bring and the consolation that the Mother of the Saviour can bestow. Until now Africa has not been on the pilgrim route of the Cross that started twenty-two years ago. In 2005, the Pontifical Council for the Laity presented the idea of the pilgrimage of the Cross and Icon around Africa to the bishops conferences of the continent. Many of them responded enthusiastically.
Of course, Africa is huge and the time available for the pilgrimage is limited. Some countries, for political and social-economic reasons, are not in a position to welcome the Cross this time. However, there are twenty countries involved in the pilgrimage going from west to south and then through the centre to the east: Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar. Immediately after the handover ceremony between the young Germans and Australians on Palm Sunday, the Cross and Icon left for Dakar to start the first stage in Africa. The Church in Senegal gave them a festive welcome. Christians in that country are a minority, and the young Senegalese took to heart the words inscribed on the Cross which were addressed to young people by Pope John Paul II on 22 April 1984 when he entrusted them with the Cross: proclaim to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption. These young people were not discouraged by distance or the burning sun, but they proclaimed the message of redemption with fervour by taking part in the Holy Week ceremonies that included a six-kilometre Way of the Cross.
Huge crowds attended the prayer vigils and the popular devotions that accompanied this pilgrimage. There were so many that some Muslims decided to join the processions. Another significant moment of the pilgrimage was when the Cross and Icon were handed over to the diocese of Ziguinchor. The Church in Senegal gave this symbol of hope and peace to that region that has suffered from twenty years of rebellion. The young people there were commissioned to become a non-violent generation. In response, they set out on a march of peace that brought the Cross and Icon all around the diocese, and then to Guinea Bissau and Gambia. From 19 May to 11 June the pilgrimage proceeded to Ghana. Here as in Senegal, the Cross and Icon had a most unexpected success among the people, Christian and otherwise. Many had responded with curiosity and enthusiasm to this unique event. They welcomed these symbols with faith, for they were close to the people, travelling in open trucks through the duty streets of the towns, villages and countryside of Ghana. The programmed schedule could not be kept because of the great crowds. They waited patiently in line to touch and pray at these sacred objects. On other occasions the people, on hearing the bells and drums announcing the arrival of the Cross and Icon to their village, ran out into the street to welcome and touch it, and so held up the journey. As the Cross concluded its pilgrimage in that country, the word thank you was on everyones lips. On 12 June, the handover of the Cross and Icon from Ghana to Togo took place at the border in a very emotional ceremony. As in the previous stages, the whole Church was represented in welcoming the Youth Cross and the Icon of Our Lady. There were lay people and religious, missionaries and bishops.
As we write, this pilgrimage is underway. From what we hear, the entire nation is involved in night vigils, and the churches are filled for Mass in the presence of the Cross and Icon. Beyond the singing and dancing that line the road followed by the Cross and Icon, the pilgrimage is giving the Church in these countries an opportunity to give a catechesis on the significance of the Cross in Christian life and the important of devotion to Our Lady in the Church. We have seen so many wonderful fruits already.
Of the engagements undertaken by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the meetings with bishops on their ad limina Apostolorum visits are among the most important. These opportunities for exchange are far more than formal courtesy calls. They are among the most effective occasions for connection and communion between the universal Church, represented by the ministry of the Holy Father assisted by the Roman Curia, and the local Churches represented at the highest level by their pastors. Our dicastery is particularly interested in dialoguing with the bishops from around the world because of the ecclesiological and pastoral timing of their ad limina visits. The task of the Pontifical Council for the Laity requires dialogue and collaboration at all levels, not only to help the many different lay groups recognised at an international level and inserted in the local context, but also to allow for the growth of all aspects of the Catholic laity that has been noted in recent decades and reported in the last few meetings. After the Synod on the Eucharist in which the bishops were engaged during October of last year, visits recommenced with the bishops of Austria and the Czech Republic in November, followed by three groups of Polish bishops in November and December. 2006 began with the first group of bishops from the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed in April by the Bishops Conference of Ghana. Canada began the ad limina visit with the bishops of Quebec and Atlantic during the month of May. In June we were visited by the bishops of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The themes discussed with the European and Canadian bishops concerned the problems of secularisation and the responses being prepared by the Churches. Emphasis was given to the need to provide valid faith development training for all of the People of God, and in particular to offer systematic courses of Christian initiation that can lead the lay faithful to adult faith and a clear sense of belonging to the Church. In this sense we shared with the bishops the observation that the movements and new communities give an indispensable contribution to the task of the new evangelisation, both because they can reach out so far, and because they offer valid courses of faith development. The bishops also testified to the many fruits that came about from the participation of their young people in World Youth Day. They agreed with our dicastery on the need for the extraordinary gifts received to be developed in everyday youth ministry. The meetings with the African bishops allowed us to see how the Holy Spirit is guiding all the Churches in the same direction. As well as discussing themes similar to those taken up with the European Churches concerning faith development and youth ministry, we were able to listen directly to the pastors recounting their experience organising pastoral ministry in Congo and Ghana. In particular, the bishops described how the structuring of parishes in small Christian communities guided by a lay catechist in communion with the parish priest constitute a valid response to the needs of large new city populations, both from the point of view of participation in the life of the Church, and as an effective point of reference and social cohesion.
Our farewell to Lucienne Sallé
Last February, after twenty-nine years of generous service, Lucienne Sallé retired from the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Lucienne first came to the Dicastery in 1977 bringing a rich experience of responsibility in two Catholic associations, the International Independent Christian Youth (JICI) in France, and the International Movement of Apostolate in the Independent Social Milieus (MIAMSI). Lucienne was responsible for the follow up of all questions relating to the vocation and mission of women in the Church and society, and also for contacts with the Conference of International Catholic Organisations. She formed part of the Holy See delegations to United Nations international conferences on women in Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995).
Notable among her contributions was her coordination of the ad hoc committee in the Pontifical Council for the Laity who led the Holy See activities in celebrations for the International year of older persons called by the UN in 1999, and for her work in editing the document The Dignity of Older People and their Mission in the Church and in the World, published by our Dicastery in 1998.
We recall her dedication to the Holy See and her professionalism and Christian commitment that were always outstanding. We want to express our deepest gratitude and to send her our best wishes in the Lord.
* * *
Lucienne Sallés role is being taken over by María Rocío Figueroa Alveár from Lima, Peru. She is a member of the Marian Fraternity of Reconciliation, an institute connected to the Christian Life Movement. She joined our Dicastery last April, and we extend to her our sincerest welcome.
The craft of the lay person
The Pontifical Gregorian University, in accordance with its identity and mission, is offering a path of faith development for lay people that will help them to live their specific vocation of engagement with the reality of this world and of the Church. Christian existence and public ethics is a two-year course intended for those who are involved in the various sectors of professional life or engaged in cultural, social, economic, political or voluntary fields and who feel the need for a qualified education in ethics in a way that will correspond to the proprium of their lay vocation, and that is its secular dimension. The course will be of a theological and philosophical-ethical nature.
On the one hand, it will explore the human longing and the need for religion (Christifideles laici, 4) and introduce in an organic way the fundamental thematic nuclei of faith, with ample attention given to intra-ecclesial communion and relations with the civil environment. In this way it is intended to help provide appropriate instruments to sustain in the specificity of the identity and contribution of each one mutual knowledge and collaboration between different groups (movements, associations, new forms of consecrated and community life). Special attention is given to the demands of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and with contemporary cultures. In addition, human sciences will be approached that involve social and political commitment. The objective is not to bring about technical competence in each discipline, but to give students basic competence that is required by the nature of their engagement so that it will correspond to their specific vocation which is animation of the temporal order by means of the Christian spirit. This implies the need to offer awareness of social and political phenomena that is necessary for their theological and ethical evaluation, and to give a Christian reading (and therefore fully human) to the disciplines themselves. The course will lead to a university diploma, and it is composed of four semesters with attendance at classes or seminars distributed over 5 afternoons leading to a total of 135 credits. There is also a written essay and final examination that will give a further 20 credits. The total of credits required can be obtained also by adding 1- credit courses (study days). Students are obliged to attend at least two seminars (4 credits each).
The many subjects are coordinated within the various thematic areas: the theological area; the philosophical-political area; the ethics area with particular reference to the ethics of politics, economics, finance, work, unions, businesses; the science-social area; the area of law. This makes up an agile and articulated curriculum of studies. Each year, some courses, chosen from those dealing with professional ethics, are given as intensive courses over several weekends in order to facilitate those who are working or who live far from Rome.
Some courses will be offered as public lectures with contributions from many experts whose work will be coordinated by one of the academic staff. It is possible to follow a one-year programme and receive a certificate at the end of the course. It is also possible to follow courses of study and programmes of personalised research, also with written work, according to the interests of the students. For further information, visit the website: www.unigre.it/pug/isr/Isr.htm
On 3 October Bishop Josef Clemens celebrated the Eucharist in Saint Peters Basilica for the Saint Liborius lay association from the German archdiocese of Paderborn.
On 25 October Prof. Guzmán Carriquiry met with Moysés de Azevedo Filho, founder and moderator of the Shalom Catholic Community from Fortaleza (Brazil).
On 26 October Archbishop Stanisław Ryłko and Bishop Clemens met with the leaders of the Community of the Beatitudes.
On 27 October Bishop Clemens met with Knuth Erbe and Rev. Andreas Mauritz, president and spiritual assistant of the Bund der Deutschen Katholischen Jugend (BDKJ), the federation of German Catholic youth associations.
On 28 October Bishop Clemens met with Ernest König, President of the Conference of International Catholic Organisations (CICO), and Jürgen Bringmann, Secretary. That same day he met with Monika Pankoke-Schenk, President of the Päpstliches Missionswerk der Frauen in Deutschland, the womens pontifical missionary work in Germany.
On 31 October Archbishop Ryłko met with Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Christian Life Movement (CLM).
On 5 and 6 November, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Villaregia Missionary Community, Bishop Clemens was in Villaregia (RO) to inaugurate an iconographic and missionary exhibition entitled The Eternal in Time and to preside at Holy Mass.
On 7 November Archbishop Ryłko received Father Yves Le Saux who is in charge of ordained ministry in the Emmanuel Community.
On 7 November Bishop Clemens and Prof. Carriquiry met with the new president of the Marianist Lay Communities, Anthony Garascia, and the new members of the International Team.
On 8 November Msgr Delgado met with Barbara Middleton, president of the Holy Trinity Apostolate association.
On 9 November Archbishop Ryłko met with Loreto Ballester, general president of the Teresian Association, and with Robert Tyrała, ecclesiastical assistant of the International Federation of Pueri Cantores (FIPC).
On 10 November Bishop Clemens met with Rev. Bernard Michon, head of the Foyers de Charité.
On 15 November Prof. Carriquiry met with Rev. Jonas Abib, founder of the Brazilian charismatic community Canção Nova, together with some members of his team.
On 18 November Prof. Carriquiry and Dr. Sallé met with Pascal Pingault, founder of the Bread of Life Community.
Msgr Delgado represented the Dicastery at the general assembly of the Conference of International Catholic Organisations (CICO) that took place in Jerusalem on 18-22 November.
On 19 November Bishop Clemens presided at a Mass for the SantEgidio Community in the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The founder, Andrea Riccardi, was among those present.
On 23 November Bishop Clemens received Rev. Matthias Leineweber, head of the SantEgidio Community in Würzburg (Germany).
On 28 November Bishop Clemens, Msgr Delgado and Dr. Sallé met with the international team of the International Movement of the Apostolate for Children (MIDADE), Olivier Thouret, president, Apollinaire Binangou, general secretary, and the ecclesiastical assistant Rev. Philippe Tam Im.
On 29 November Prof. Carriquiry met with Rev. Aníbal Ernesto Fosbery, O.P., founder of the Fraternity of St Thomas Aquinas Groups (FASTA), and some leaders of the Association.
On 30 November Bishop Clemens, Msgr Delgado and Dr Sallé, met with Baldur Hermans and Msgr Robert Guglielmone, general secretary and ecclesiastical assistant of the International Catholic Conference of Scouting (ICCS).
Archbishop Ryłko gave the opening talk at the 10th national congress of the Movimento Cristiano Lavoratori (MCL) that took place in Rome on 2-4 December on the theme Work: a key necessity.
On 6 December Bishop Clemens received Rev. Luis Kondor, SVD, secretary of the World Apostolate of Fatima.
On 10 December Dr Sallé met with members of the French national team of Action Catholique des Milieux Indépendants, accompanied by Bishop François Maupu of Verdun.
On 12 December Archbishop Ryłko met with Klaus Reder of the SantEgidio Community in Würzburg (Germany).
On 12 December Msgr Delgado and Msgr Francis Kohn received Henry Cappello, President of Youth Arise International, an organisation at the service of the evangelisation of youth.
On 15 December Archbishop Ryłko met with Matteo Calisi, president of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships.
On 15 December Bishop Clemens was invited to a reception for the Christmas season by the SantEgidio Community in the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome.
On 17 December Bishop Clemens, Msgr Delgado and Dr Sallé met with the international team and ecclesiastical assistant, Rev Irving G. Amaro Ramayo C.M., of the International Independant Christian Youth (JICI). On that same day, Dr Sallé met with Paul de Viguerie, President of the Associations familiales catholiques accompanied by two other leaders of the Association.
On 19 December Prof. Carriquiry and Dr Sallé met with Dolores Varea Andrés and Rev Albert Arrufat Prades, the new coordinator and ecclesiastical assistant of the international team of the Intercontinental Christian Fraternity of the Chronic Sick and Physically Disabled (FCIPMH).
On 28 December Archbishop Ryłko gave the opening talk at the 33rd International Congress of the International Federation of Pueri Cantores held in the Vatican. The Dicastery was also represented by Bishop Clemens.
On 29 December Bishop Clemens met with the president, Josep Maria Torrents, the treasurer, G. Luca Paolucci, and the secretary, Willi Oeschger, of the International Federation of Pueri Cantores.
On 5 January Bishop Clemens, Rev. Kevin Lixey L.C., and Msgr Delgado, met with Clément Schertzinger, president of the International Catholic Federation for Sports and Education (FICEP), Jean Vintzel, president of the Fédération Sportive et Culturelle de France (FSCF); Edio Costantini, president of the Centro Sportivo Italiano (CSI); Volker Monnerjahn, president of Deutsche Jugend Kraft (DJK), Germany. On that same day Bishop Clemens and Fr Lixey met with Math Pieters, president of FISEC (International Catholic School Sport Federation), and Fedora Parisse, secretary of FISIAE (FISEC Italy).
Archbishop Ryłko spoke at the 6th General Convention of the Comunità Magnificat of the Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo that took place in Montesilvano (Pescara) on 5- 8 January on the theme Mary, a mirror for the Community. During the course of the retreat, Archbishop Ryłko presided at the Mass of the Epiphany and took part in the ceremony of renewal of commitments to the Community.
On 6 January Bishop Clemens met with a group from the La Dieci association from Bassano del Grappa.
On 12 January Bishop Clemens received Msgr Francesco Rosso, national assistant of the Movimento Cristiano Lavoratori.
On 16 January Msgr Delgado met with Manoj Sunny, international coordinator of the Jesus Youth movement.
On 16 January Bishop Clemens met with Hans Joachim Meyer, president of the German Catholics Committee, and the general secretary, Stefan Vesper. On that same day, Prof. Carriquiry and Dr Sallé met with the presidents of the Young Christian Workers (JOCJOCF) accompanied by their ecclesiastical assistant.
On 19 January Msgr Kohn met with some members of the International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (ICYCW): Rev. John Marsland (spiritual assistant), Jacquie Hocquet (treasurer) and some leaders of JOC in France with their spiritual assistant.
On 27 January Bishop Clemens met with the general secretary of Misereor, Rev. Prof. Josef Sayer.
On 1st February Msgr Kohn met with Frère Nathanaël of the Community of the Beatitudes and one of the animators of the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre.
On 4 February Bishop Clemens inaugurated in Rome the new international headquarters of the Living In Spirituality Movement and he met with the founder, Rev Nicola Giordano, and the leaders.
On 8 February Dr Sallé took part in a meeting of Catholic International Organisations that have their headquarters in Rome. There were representatives of Caritas Internationalis, ICYCS, ICRA, CVX, IFCA, FIHC, MIAMSI.
On 13 February Bishop Clemens was in Castelgandolfo to take part in the meeting of bishop friends of the Focolari Movement.
On 15 February Msgr Delgado met with Rev. Ricardo E. Facci, founder and president of Hogares Nuevos - Obra de Cristo. On the same day Bishop Clemens received Otmar Oehring, head of the Human Rights section of the Missio Association.
On 17 February Bishop Clemens met with Willi Oeschger, secretary of the International Federation of Pueri Cantores.
On 19-20 February Bishop Clemens was in Würzburg to take part in the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the presence of the SantEgidio Community in Germany and to preside at the Holy Mass.
On 22 February Bishop Clemens met with Jacqueline Hocquet from the secretariat of the International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (ICYCW).
On 25 February Bishop Clemens met with Barbara Stadtler and Traudl Wallbrecher, leaders of the Catholic Integrated Community.
On 1 March Archbishop Ryłko met with Ernesto Preziosi, general secretary of the International Council of Catholic Men (FIHC-Unum Omnes).
On 15 March Msgr Kohn met with Marc Fromager, French national director of Aid to the Church in Need.
On 16 March Bishop Clemens met with Loïc Mérian and Bruno Nougayrède, leaders of the Forum pour la Nouvelle Evangelisation.
On 22 March Bishop Clemens received Edio Costantini, president of the Centro Sportivo Italiano (CSI).
On 31 March Bishop Clemens was at the basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso in Rome to preside at a thanksgiving Mass with the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS).
On 7 April Msgr Delgado met with Christine Brandmeir of the International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth (MIJARC).
On 24 April Archbishop Ryłko presided at the Mass at the 29th national gathering of groups and communities of the Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo, that took place in Rimini from 22 to 25 April on the theme You are Gods own people, in order that you may proclaim his mighty acts (cf 1 Pt 2: 9).
On 24 April Bishop Clemens met with the international president of the International Movement of Apostolate in the Independent Social Milieus (MIAMSI), Daniel Guery, accompanied by Bianca Maria Pisoni.
Archbishop Ryłko presided at the Mass marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Villaregia Missionary Community. The celebrations were in Rome from 24 to 26 April. Bishops Clemens also participated by delivering the inaugural speech.
On 29 April Archbishop Ryłko celebrated Holy Mass for those participating in the spiritual exercises of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation that took place in Rimini from 28 to 30 April on the theme We live for love of something that is happening now (don Luigi Giussani).
On 6 May Msgr Kohn met with the president, Manoj Matthew, and the spiritual assistant, Rev. Mike Deeb, of the international coordinating team of the International Young Catholic Students and the International Movement of Catholic Students (IYCS-IMCS), together with two youth leaders of the YCS in Uganda who are in charge of organising an international conference on faith development scheduled for August 2007.
On 10 May Msgr Clemens met with Rev. Francio Manoukian and the team of the International School of Formation and Evangelisation in Altötting (Germany).
On 29 May Msgr Kohn received a group of young people from the Ecole Internationale de Formation et dEvangélisation in Paray-le-Monial run by the Emmanuel Community, accompanied by the director, Michel Bronstuin, and the spiritual assistant, Rev. Vincent Bedon; a group of youth from the Jeunesse Lumière school, accompanied by Fr. René-Luc Fr. André Manaranche; and a group of youth from the Ecole de la Foi in the diocese of Coutances.
On 5 June Msgr Kohn met with Rev. Xavier Brizard and Marie-Noëlle de Solan, heads of the preliminary year of the Emmanuel Community in Namur (Belgium), accompanied by thirty young candidates for the priesthood from different parts of the world.
On 5 June Bishop Clemens received a group of students from the Academy for Evangelisation in Vienna run by the Emmanuel Community, led by Domkuraten Mag. Alphons Pachta-Rayhofen. That same day he also met with Jerome Coniker, president of the Apostolate for Family Consecration (USA), and with the general praesidium of the Schönstatt Movement, in view of the upcoming approval of the Statutes.
Archbishop Ryłko conveyed the greetings of the Pontifical Council for the Laity to the participants at the International Conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal organised in Fiuggi from 5 to 9 June by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS).
On 6 and 7 June Bishop Clemens took part in the international convention of the Foyers de Charité in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure (France) and gave a talk on the theme They were of one heart and soul (Acts 4: 32).
On 8 June Archbishop Ryłko conveyed greetings from the Dicastery to the participants in the annual seminar of the International Council of Catholic Men (FIHC-Unum Omnes) that took place in Rome. That same day Bishop Clemens met with Josep Maria Torrents and Rev. Robert Tyrała, the president and ecclesiastical assistant of the International Federation of Pueri Cantores (FIPC).
On 12 June Msgr Delgado met with Pascal and Marie- Annick Pingault, founders of the Bread of Life Community.
On 16 June Bishop Clemens received Col. Reinhard Kloss, president, Col. Michael Jedlicˇka, general secretary, and the ecclesiastical assistant, Msgr Werner Freistetter, of the International Military Apostolate (AMI).
On 28 June Archbishop Ryłko met with Rev. Laurent Fabre, general superior of the Chemin Neuf Community.
On 1st October Bishop Josef Clemens met with Philipp Mißfelder, president of the Junge Union Deutschlands, the union of young German Christian-democrats.
Archbishop Stanisław Ryłko took part in the 11th ordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican from 2 to 23 October on the theme The Eucharist: source and summit of the life and mission of the Church.
On 4 October Msgr Francis Kohn met with the international coordinator of Jesus Youth, Manoj Sunny.
From 7 to 10 October Bishop Clemens was in Buenos Aires to take part in the Laity Congress organised by the Bishops Conference of Argentina on the theme Towards the bicentenary of Argentina, during which he gave the inaugural speech on the challenges facing the laity of the twenty- first century. He also presided the concluding Mass.
On 8 October Archbishop Ryłko celebrated Holy Mass in the church of San Carlo al Corso for the participants at the international gathering of youth Eucharistic adoration groups in Rome from 4 to 9 October on the theme Eucharist and personal identity.
On 11 October, in Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Ryłko spoke at a press conference presenting the book The revolution of God that compiles the talks given by Benedict XVI on the occasion of World Youth Day in Cologne.
In view of World Youth Day to be held in Sydney in 2008, on 17 October, Archbishop Ryłko, Bishop Clemens and Msgr Kohn met with the Australian minister for immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, and with Theodore Duerrigl-Knez, chargé daffaires at the Australian Embassy to the Holy See.
On 17 October Bishop Clemens received a group representing the Order of Knights of The Holy Sepulchre from the Archdiocese of Cologne. That same day he was at the presentation of the new director of the Roman office of the German second public television network (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) and he met with Markus Schächter, general director of ZDF.
On 18 October Bishop Clemens, in view of the 20th Winter Olympic Games in Turin, received the Hon. Mario Pescante, Italian undersecretary of state for culture. That same day he met with a group of religion teachers from the diocese of Hildesheim (Germany).
On 24 October Archbishop Ryłko met with Cora Mateo from the Office for Laity and Family of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC).
On 3 November Bishop Clemens met with the Hon. Edmund Stoiber, Prime Minister of Bavaria, and the Christian-social parliamentary group of Bavaria with whom he spoke about WYD in Cologne and about the activities of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Msgr Miguel Delgado Galindo represented the Dicastery at the meeting of presidents of the European Forum of National Lay Committees held in Danzig (Poland) from 4 to 6 November.
On 9 November Bishop Clemens met with Dr. Götz of the Götz Foundation in Liechtenstein.
On 14 November Bishop Clemens met with the Hon. Fritz Schösser with a delegation from the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, the federation of German syndicates.
On 16 November Archbishop Ryłko presided at the Eucharistic celebration for the inauguration of the academic year at La Sapienza University in Rome.
On 17 November Prof. Guzmán Carriquiry met with Rev. Domenico Di Raimondo Romo, general superior of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.
On 19 November Bishop Clemens met with Michael Braun, head of the Roman office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung).
On 21 November Archbishop Ryłko spoke at a ceremony in commemoration of the Servant of God John Paul II that was held at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences office in the presence of His Holiness Benedict XVI.
On 21 November Prof. Carriquiry and Msgr Kohn met with Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, accompanied by thirty priests from his diocese.
On 21 November Bishop Clemens took part in a Vatican Radio transmission on the theme The world of sport today: a field of Christian mission, the topic of the first international seminar organised by the Church and Sport Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 11 and 12 November.
On 27 November Bishop Clemens celebrated Mass for the Katholische Akademie Hamburg in San Pellegrino church in the Vatican.
On 28 November Msgr Kohn met with Brother Aloïs Löser, the new prior of Taizé, to talk about WYD in Cologne and the international youth gathering organised by the Community in Milan at the end of the year.
On 29 November Bishop Clemens was at the Russian Ecumenical Centre in Rome to present the book by Jeanne Perego, The Baveria of Joseph Ratzinger. That same day he received a group of executives from the German first public television network (ARD).
On 1 December Bishop Clemens received a group from the Gesellschaft Katholischer Publizisten, the association of German Catholic journalists. That same day he met with the new prior of the Taizé Community, Frère Aloïs Löser.
On 2 December Msgr Kohn and Lucienne Sallé met with a group of journalists from the Fédération Française de la Presse Catholique, led by the president, Bernard Cattaneo, and by the general secretary, François Fauvel.
On 2 December Prof. Carriquiry gave a talk on the laity and the social doctrine of the Church to a large audience from the parishes and cultural centres of Sesto San Giovanni (Milan).
From 2 to 4 December Bishop Clemens gave three talks onPope Benedict XVI as theologian facing the challenges of the present time to the students of the archdiocesan seminary of Munich.
From 4-6 December Rev. Kevin Lixey, L.C., took part in the second Magglingen Conference in Switzerland on the theme Sport and development, which was held in the context of the International Year for sport and physical education. He gave a talk on Why the Church believes in sport.
On 5 December Rev. Antonio Grappone represented the dicastery at a seminar organised by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the theme Sacred music: a liturgical and pastoral challenge.
Archbishop Ryłko attended a convention on the theme Among the people as pastors and brothers organised by the Congregation for the Clergy from 6 to 7 December in collaboration with the Pontifical Lateran University on the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar decree Presbyterorum ordinis. Archbishop Ryłko spoke on the topic Priests and movements.
On 6 December Bishop Clemens met with the Grand Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of Malta, H. E. Albrecht Freiherr von Böselager.
On 10 December Bishop Clemens presided at the Mass of admission to the sacred orders of the diaconate and presbyterate of some seminarians at the Sedes Sapientiae International Ecclesiastical College in Rome.
From 13-16 December, Msgr Kohn, head of Youth Section, spoke at the Second World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Foreign Students organised in Rome by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
On 16 December Msgr Kohn met with Rev Jan Balik and a group of youth from the Czech Republic who were on pilgrimage in Rome.
On 17 December Bishop Clemens and Dr Sallé met with a group of seminarians from the Pontifical French Seminary in Rome.
On 19 December Archbishop Ryłko met with the president of the French Bishops Conference, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard, accompanied by some of his team.
On 9 January Bishop Clemens met with Maria Aiello, expert on the history of sport and sport law.
On 10 January Msgr Kohn received Rev Michel Remery, head of youth ministry in the Netherlands, together with a group of young people.
On 17 January Msgr Kohn met with Msgr Mauro Parmeggiani, general secretary of the Vicariate of Rome and head of youth ministry in the diocese.
On 19 January Bishop Clemens met with Günther H. Oettinger, minister-president of the State of Baden-Württemberg (Germany).
On 23 January Msgr Kohn met with Rev Josif Ivan Milyan, head of youth ministry in the Ukrainian Bishops Conference.
On 24 January Bishop Clemens and Fr. Lixey met with a group of seminarians from Mundelein Seminary in the archdiocese of Chicago.
On 26 January Msgr Kohn met with Bishop Raymoond Seguy of Autun-Chalon- Mâcon (France).
On 26 January Bishop Clemens met with Bishop Alois Schwarz of Gurk-Klagenfurt with 40 deacons and vicars forane. That same day Msgr Clemens met with Rabbi Israel Singer, President of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress.
On 27 January Msgr Kohn met with Rev Georg Austen of the local organising committee for WYD in Cologne 2005 to discuss the organisation of the handover of the Cross during the Palm Sunday celebrations in Saint Peters Square.
Archbishop Ryłko spoke on World Youth Day: John Paul IIs extraordinary intuition for the evangelisation of youth at a colloquium organised in Rome from 5 to 8 February by the Emmanuel Community in collaboration with the Redemptor Hominis Pastoral Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University on the theme If God saves everyone, then why evangelise? Postmodernity and the new evangelisation.
On 7 February Msgr Kohn met with a group of 36 young people from several east European countries, including some priests, who had taken part in the latest Central European Catholic Day.
On 10 February Bishop Clemens met with Bernd Posselt, member of the European Parliament and president of Paneuropa-Union Deutschland.
On 22 February Bishop Clemens met with Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, O.F.M. of Trujillo, President of the Peruvian Bishops Conference.
On 24 February Bishop Clemens received a groups of students and academics of canon law from the Münster Faculty of Theology.
On 27 February Bishop Clemens met with Prof. Hubert Gindert of the Forum Deutscher Katholiken.
Archbishop Ryłko conveyed the greetings of the dicastery to the participants at the seminar on the theme Youth, faith and culture in the projects of the Italian Church that was held at the offices of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 28 February with the participation of the president of the Italian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, and the general secretary, Bishop Giuseppe Betori. Bishop Clemens, Prof. Carriquiry and Msgr Kohn also took part in the seminar.
On 1 March Bishop Clemens met with Prof. Maram Stern, European representative on the World Jewish Congress.
On 2 March Bishop Clemens met with Archbishop Héctor Rubén Aguer of La Plata (Argentina).
On 17 March Bishop Clemens met with Prof. Ludger Müller, lecturer in canon law at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Vienna, who came with a group of students.
On 23 March Bishop Clemens met with the new apostolic nuncio in Zambia and Malawi, Archbishop Nicola Girasoli.
On 24 March Bishop Clemens received a group of 20 students from the Ecole Expérimentale of Athens University accompanied by teachers of Catholic and Orthodox Religion, Constantina Peppa and Georges Papadakis.
On 28 March Bishop Clemens received 30 members of the editorial staff of Radio FFH in Frankfort (Germany). Discussions concerned WYD 2008.
On 29 March Bishop Clemens met with Msgr Carlo Mazza, Director of the National Office for Pastoral Work through Leisure, Tourism and Sport of the Italian Bishops Conference.
On 31 March Bishop Clemens received a group of Austrian chief editors and journalists who were accompanied by Bishop Egon Kapellari of Graz, vice-president of the Austrian Bishops Conference.
On 1 April Bishop Clemens administered the sacrament of Confirmation in the Roman parish of Santa Maria Consolatrice.
On 4 April Msgr Kohn met with Rev Olivier Frölich, head of youth ministry in French-speaking Belgium.
On 10 April Bishop Clemens received Dirk Tänzler, new president of BDKJ (Bund der Deutschen Kath. Jugend), and Rev Andreas Mauritz, national ecclesiastical assistant. That same day he received a group of youth from the cathedral parish of Saint Stephen in Vienna.
On 22 April, on invitation from the Ischia branch of the International Federation of Business and Professional Woman (FIDAPA), Bishop Clemens gave a talk on the theme Collaboration between men and women in the Church and in the world.
On 26 April Bishop Clemens met with Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, Archbishop of Munich and Freising.
On 27 April Bishop Clemens met with the leadership of the US Conference of Major Religious Superiors.
On 28 April Bishop Clemens received a group of leaders of the evangelical community Bruderhof from Ulster Park, New York (USA).
On 29 April Bishop Clemens met with Marie-Louise Dött MdB, president of the Bund Katholischer Unternehmer, an association of entrepreneurs in Germany, with a group of the BKU from the diocese of Berlin.
On 2 May Bishop Clemens met with Rev Andreas Rohde, university chaplain, who came with a group from the Catholic student community of Paderborn University.
Archbishop Ryłko spoke at the 12th Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences that took place from 28 April to 2 May on the topic WYD Youth, major players in Gods revolution today. He also celebrated Mass for the participants on 1 May, feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, at the altar at the tomb of Saint Peter.
On 4 May Bishop Clemens received a group of Bavarian journalists in view of the papal visit to Bavaria (9-14 September 2006).
On 6 May Archbishop Ryłko conferred diaconal ordination on a group of seminarians from the Sedes Sapientiae International Ecclesiastical College and from the John Paul II International Philosophic- Theological Seminary. The ceremony was held in the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
On 7 May Bishop Clemens was in Cologne for the episcopal ordination of Msgr Heiner Koch who was head of the organising committee of WYD 2005 in Cologne.
Bishop Clemens took part in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family held in Rome from 11 to 13 May.
On 12 May Archbishop Ryłko presided the third session of the international congress on the theme Loving human love. the heritage of John Paul II for marriage and the family organised in Rome from 11 to 13 May by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its foundation by the Servant of God.
On 15 May Bishop Clemens took part in the opening session of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
On 19 May Bishop Clemens met with Prof. Roberto Rizzo of the Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation.
Bishop Clemens gave the opening address at the 19th Plenary Assembly of the European Forum of National Laity Committees that was held in Saarbrücken (Germany) from 26 to 28 May.
On 27 May Bishop Clemens took part in a panel discussion on the theme The development of youth ministry in Germany, organised by the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) during the Katholikentag held in Saarbrücken.
On 29 May Bishop Clemens received a group of priests from the archdiocese of Paderborn who were celebrating the 10th anniversary of their ordination to the priesthood.
Prof. Carriquiry gave the opening address at the 2nd Ibero-American Congress on Catholics and public life, that took place at the Santo Tomás University in Santiago in Chile from 7 to 9 June. During his stay in Chile, he gave talks at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, the Pontifical Seminary, the Schönstatt Fathers Seminary, and to the leaders of campus ministry in Santiago.
On 8 June, in view of WYD in Sydney, Bishop Clemens received Dr Christoph Berndorff, president of Pax-Bank in Colonia, and Michael Smyrek, head of the Rome office.
Archbishop Ryłko presided at the 28th annual pilgrimage from Macerata to Loreto. He celebrated Holy Mass on the evening of 10 June at the start of the walk of 60,000 pilgrims, and he welcomed them the next morning at the sanctuary of the Holy House.
On 12 June Msgr Kohn met with Giovanni Gut of the department for studies and development of the Italian Christian Workers Movement.
On the anniversary of the apparitions of 1917, Bishop Clemens was in Portugal on 12 and 13 June to preside at two Eucharistic concelebrations at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima.
On 18 June Bishop Clemens presided at the Eucharistic concelebration and procession for the Corpus Chri- sti Solemnity at the abbey of the Benedictine sisters in Rosano (FI).
On 19 June Bishop Clemens met with Rev. Dietmar Heeg, head of social communications, and Rev. Hans-Gerd Schütt, head of pastoral ministry in sport of the German Bishops Conference.
On 20 June Bishop Clemens received Peter-Stephan Englert, general administrator of Sankt Gundekar-Werk Eichstätt and a group of colleagues from this charitable society.
On 21 June Bishop Clemens received Michael Braun, head of the Rome office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation of Berlin, with an international group of scholarship holders to discuss the topic of the Holy See as an international institution.
On 22 June Bishop Clemens met with a group of religious, seminarians and lay students of canon law from the theology faculty of the universities of Salzburg and Innsbruck (Austria) led by Msgr Hans Paarhammer.
On 23 June Archbishop Ryłko and Bishop Clemens took part in the inauguration of the diocesan phase of the process of beatification and canonisation of the Servant of God Cardinal Eduardo F. Pironio who was president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity for 12 years.
On 23 June Msgr Kohn celebrated Holy Mass at the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre for the closure of the years activities. That same day he accompanied Archbishop Ryłko on a visit to the Emmanuel School of Mission.
On 24 June Bishop Clemens met with Hermann Kroll-Schlüter, president of Katholische Landvolkbewegung Deutschlands, the German movement for Catholic rural workers.
On 26 June Bishop Clemens received the director general of San Paolo Publications, Rev. Vincenzo Santarcangelo. That same day he received H.E. Gerhard Westdickenberg, ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, and H.E. Helmut Türk, ambassador of Austria to the Holy See.
On 27 June Bishop Clemens met with the director general of Vatican Radio Rev. Federico Lombardi S.J., and 25 Jesuit fathers responsible for programmes in other languages.
On 28 June Archbishop Ryłko met with Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, who was accompanied by a group from the archdiocese engaged in the advancement of the laity and family life. That same day Archbishop Ryłko received the visit of the ambassador of Spain to the Holy See, H.E. Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo.
On 30 June Bishop Clemens received the ambassador of Georgia to the Holy See, HRH Princess Khétévane Bagration de Moukhrani.
During the first half of the year, Msgr Kohn met with prelates from various African dioceses to discuss the pilgrimage of the WYD Cross in Africa.
In preparation for WYD in Sydney, Msgr Kohn had several meetings with Bishop Anthony Fisher, auxiliary bishop of Sydney and head of the local organising committee. Included at the meeting of 5 April were Archbishop Ryłko, Bishop Clemens, Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, and two members of the Sydney committee.