Meeting in Vienna in the presence of numerous European bishops 04-13-1993
St. John Paul II
Vienna, April 13-17, 1993
Will Europe be Christian in the year 2000? To answer this question from the Holy Father, 5 Cardinals and 120 bishops from all countries in Europe, from Portugal to Russia, met for five days in Vienna from April 13 to 17, 1993. The meeting was begun in the morning of Wednesday April 14 by Cardinal Groër who has pointed out the importance of the Neocatechumenal Way for the Church at the threshold of the third millennium. The vice president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity Msgr. Paul Cordes has read the letter of the Holy Father.
Letter to the Bishops in Vienna
“Venerable brothers in the Episcopate, dearly beloved brothers and sisters! It is a source of great consolation for me to know that, a few years after my call for the New Evangelization of Europe, you are meeting in Vienna to reflect together on the fruits of the missionary activity that you are developing, with generous impulse and great zeal for the Gospel, priests, itinerants and families of the Neocatechumenal Way. On the occasion of the opening of the work of the Special Assembly for Europe, on June 5, 1990, it was revealed with bitter pain that, in this continent of ours, many have become accustomed to considering reality ‘as if God did not exist’. With such a perspective, he added, man ‘comes to consider himself the source of the moral law, and only that law, which man gives himself, constitutes the measure of his conscience and behavior’ (Insegnamenti, vol. XIII , I, 1990, pp, 1517 s.). On the other hand, it cannot be denied that the Holy Spirit, through the Second Vatican Council, has raised valid instruments -and among them is the Neocatechumenal Way- to answer the questions of contemporary man. After several years, and in light of the results achieved, I have considered it appropriate to encourage this experience in writing in order for the New Evangelization, earnestly hoping that it would be helped and valued by the brothers in the Episcopate (Cf. Letter of 30.8. 1990). Many of you are immediate witnesses of such results and, at the same time, the first protagonists, for the help offered to this new ecclesial reality; for this reason, your reflection today is particularly important, as was that of the bishops of the American continent, during last year’s meeting in Santo Domingo. The Neocatechumenal Way, in which itinerants and missionary families mature, can respond to the challenges of secularization, the spread of sects and the lack of vocations. Reflection on the Word of God and participation in the Eucharist make possible a gradual initiation into the holy mysteries, form living cells of the Church, and renew the vitality of the parish with the presence of mature Christians, capable of bearing witness to the truth with a radically lived faith. This Way is particularly suitable to contribute, in the de-Christianized zones, to the necessary ‘reimplantation Ecclesiae’, leading man, in his moral behavior, to obedience to the revealed truth and also rebuilding the same social fabric destroyed by the absence of the knowledge of God and his love. Already in some regions, there are nuclei of missionary families being formed that can be the light of Christ and an example of life. But that mission would not be possible without priests prepared to accompany and sustain, with their ordained ministry, this work for the New Evangelization. I am grateful to the Lord that he has raised numerous vocations and, consequently, that diocesan and missionary seminaries were established in various countries in Europe, called with the sweet name of the Virgin Mary ‘Redemptoris Mater’. I also place your meeting under her maternal protection and powerful inspiration. She will be able to give you a greater impulse and strength of spirit in your apostolic zeal for contemporary man, who needs the guidance of the Shepherds and of the witnesses sent by them, to know God, invoke his name and reach salvation. May the light of the Risen Lord, which we have solemnly celebrated at the Easter Vigil, continue to shine in you, sustaining you in your mission at the service of the Church and of all Humanity.”
From the Vatican, April 12, 1993. Joannes Paulus II (*) Cfr. “L’ Osservatore Romano ”, April 22, 1993