Saturday, June 03, 2006

Pope Meets With Ecclesial Movements

A joyous crowd of 400,000 people attended a meeting with Benedict XVI. The Pope called all to mission and recommended defence of life and of creation.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – True life, freedom and unity, which bring mission, defence of the weak, of justice and of nature: these are gifts of the Spirit and what springs from them: Benedict XVI evoked them and recommended them to movements and new ecclesial communities. The vespers of the vigil of Pentecost saw around 400,000 members of ecclesial movements from around the world in St. Peter’s Square: there were psalms, hymns and meditations, but also joy, shouting and arms raised to heaven, scarves, hats and flags waving. Benedict XVI, who desired to have this second global meeting after the “foundation” one on 30 May 1998 with John Paul II, passed not only through St Peter’s Square, but also through Via Conciliazione in an open vehicle; everywhere was packed with youth, families and children. Few people probably noticed, but for the first time, the pope was not flanked by Camillo Cibin, the mythical head of Vatican Security, the commendatore, the white-haired man whose image besides four popes had become a common sight. He retired today, aged 80.

On the vigil of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit and his actions were at the heart of reflections of representatives of the movements of the Focolare, of St Egidio, of Neocatechumens, of Communion and Liberation. Their reflections before the pope’s speech were interspersed with psalms. All recalled John Paul II, as Benedict XVI also did; he repeated the invitation to “open the doors to Christ”, with which the former pope launched his long pontificate.

But “who or what is the Holy Spirit? How can we recognize him? In what way do we approach Him and how does He approach us? What are his works?” asked Benedict XVI, who developed his meditation along these themes.

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