Greeting to the cantors of the Neocatechumenal Communities in the Sunday Angelus 3/21/1982
St. John Paul II
Rome. March 21, 1982
From the speech delivered by the Holy Father before the Sunday Angelus.
«… I want to continue with the theme: “Reconciliation and penance in the mission of the Church”, a theme that accompanies us throughout Lent, with eyes set on the Synod of Bishops that is in preparation. The first and fundamental reconciliation with God in Jesus Christ and the first conversion (this is penitential) take place in the sacrament of Baptism. In the case of the Baptism of adults, this first conversion to God and the fundamental reconciliation with Him in Christ are the fruit of a long preparation: of a deep initiation. This preparation is called – since the first centuries of the Church – a catechumenate. The catechumenate has always been particularly intense during the time of Lent. This tradition remains alive in our time, in which the sacrament of Baptism is received, to a large extent, by newborns within Christian families. But also in our time Lent should serve – if not the preparation of the first conversion through Baptism – at least, to its deepening and renewal. And very frequently it must serve for the new conversion and reconciliation with God in the sacrament of penance!
For this reason, especially in the period of Lent, the catechesis of the Church is intensified in various forms (for example, in parishes, in groups or in individual spiritual exercises, called retreats).
Catechesis is also the best way for reflection on the problem of reconciliation and penance in the mission of the Church, as the Synod of Bishops expects of you. We entrust to God this Lenten work of the Church through the intercession of the Mother of the Incarnate Word … I address a cordial greeting to the cantor-psalmists of the Neocatechumenal Communities who have come to Rome for a meeting to prepare for the liturgy of the Paschal Triduum.
Dearly beloved: may your lives witness to the mystery of the risen Christ that you are preparing to celebrate with your songs, so that he is exalted before the world by the harmonious accord of words and deeds and who “dying destroyed death, and rising, restored life.”
To all of you and to your loved ones my Apostolic Blessing ».