Audience for youth in preparation for the meeting in Denver 3/28/1993
St. John Paul II
Vatican City- Hall of Paul VI, March 28, 1993
The Holy Father received in audience on the afternoon of Sunday, March 28, nearly eight thousand young people committed to the Neocatechumenal Way, who have come together in the Paul VI Hall in preparation for the World Youth Day, to be held next August in Denver. The young people were accompanied by Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández. Cardinals Pío Laghi and Camilo Ruini, archbishops Crescencio Sepe and Maximino Romero de Lema, and bishops Paul Cordes and Julio Salimei attended the meeting. To the young people, mostly from the central regions of Italy, the Pope addressed the following words:
“When I have seen this crowd – certainly a great concentration – and when I have known that everyone is preparing to go to Denver, I thought: “But where Do these Neocatechumenals get the necessary money? Maybe they intend to go to walk or swim, but this is hard to think … “I know you have been here, in this classroom, all day. I am not aware of what you have done here throughout the day; I haven’t even asked. But I have seen this last stage, the presentation of vocations, and I could say seeing this: “Look how Kiko does vocations.”
But, thank to God, it’s not Kiko who does them: it is the Holy Spirit who does them – perhaps this is not the correct word, but, once used, you have to use it here too – it’s the Holy Spirit who does these vocations through these different human means: through all this movement -oh, not movement, but way- this whole organizational structure is human, it is visible, but it is open to influence, to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I wonder where is the core of this process that, through the Neocatechumenal Way, through various people, through different circumstances, produces, raises, inspires priestly vocations, to consecrated, religious life. I am convinced that punctum saliens, the starting point of all this is the discovery of wealth, of divine depth, sacramental of Baptism. Our first vocation is baptismal. In the Holy Baptism, in this ex-water sacrament and the Holy Spirit, in this rebirth in the death of Christ by his Resurrection, are all vocations rooted. It is a deep discovery, lived, Baptism, which carries with it as a possible consequence, or better, necessary, the discovery of life as a vocation. Here it is understood the meaning of the name: Neocatechumenal Way. There was the traditional catechumenate in the early centuries of the Church and still it is given in mission countries, and it does the Church much good: it prepares Christians, prepare vocations. You were baptized in your childhood, perhaps in the first days of your life. The catechumenate is to come later to discover the riches of holy Baptism, of these divine and also human riches, which are many. Saint Paul presented them, especially in the Letter to the Romans, but Today you could write a much longer comment, much more detailed, of these riches that are characteristic of Baptism, which are divine human riches at once. One of these riches is that the Baptism is not static. It could go once, and that’s enough. It goes in a moment of life, and that’s enough. It is recorded in the parish books, and Enough. Instead, no; it is not static, it is dynamic: it causes a path of Christian life. But this path may remain uncovered. Your Neocatechumenal Way helps to discover the baptismal way – The path that begins with the sacrament of Baptism- and that must lead each of us to a vocation, above all to the vocation universal christian. Being a Christian is a wonderful vocation, and We also know that, within this Christian vocation that belongs to all believers, of all the baptized, there are different vocations.
Marriage, certainly, is sacrament and vocation. If you consider it with other categories, it is not a way of dealing enough, it is not the way to try properly Christian: marriage is a great vocation: sacramentum magnum, as Saint Paul said in the Letter to the Ephesians. But there is an economy in the Church, a supernatural ceremony, vocations are ordained from the Church. Starting from the Church, these vocations that we have seen are necessary, indispensable present today. They are indispensable, and we know well how indispensable priests are in the Church, and how indispensable they are, from another point of view, consecrated persons, religious, religious, contemplative and apostolic; all are active in a way and everyone is contemplative in a way; what They are essential to make this whole organism live, which is the Church. Briefly I wanted to make a small comment to this assembly Today, this preparation of yours for the Denver meeting. You do well preparing yourselves, because it must be a great experience of faith, of baptismal faith, this from Denver, as it has been the previous World Youth Days: Rome, Buenos Aires, then Santiago de Compostela and last Czestochowa.
I wish you to continue throughoutthis Path that you have discovered thanks to the Neocatechumenal Way,this path of the Christian life, of the Christian vocation, which is unique to each of us, and I wish you to continue on this path of the vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life that you have discovered thanks to this Neocatechumenal Way. And I wish you to go to Denver; Although you do not have much wealth, you will find a way. I dont know how, but you will find it. The road also means travel: I wish you, Well, ‘have a good trip.’ “