Visit to the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes – February 13, 1983
St. John Paul II
Rome, February 13, 1983
After having stopped for a moment with the young people, the Holy Father returned again to the Church where the members of the four Neocatechumenal Communities that are completing the Way in the parish were waiting for him. The parish priest introduced them. Giampiero, catechist of the community, later explained to the Pope how these communities were born in Our Lady of Lourdes and introduced him to some itinerant priests who, coming out of the parish, have taken the Word of the Lord to various nations of the world. In turn, each of these priests have briefly told their own story to the Pope, beginning from their entry into the Neocatechumenal Communities, to later testify to the happiness of their life as itinerants. The Holy Father, responding to the greeting words that had been addressed to him and wanting to leave the Neocatechumenals with a word from him, after having recalled the meeting a few days ago with the presbyters of the Neocatechumenal Communities, said among other things:
“In this moment, I am urged to draw your attention to the words of the songs that you have sung when you welcomed me. It is about moving words: “… Mary, you have believed in the word of the Lord.” It is about the central words in which the whole mystery of Mary is expressed, in these words, said by her cousin Elizabeth. In these words is truly Mary. The one who has believed in the Words of the Lord with a unique faith. The mystery that had been revealed was also unique: a great faith was needed, a Marian faith to accept these words, to believe these words and to accept their content. I believe that Mary, the one who has believed in the Words of the Lord, is the one that offers a model, shows a path to all of us and especially to all of you, because: what does it mean being a member of a Neocatechumenal Community, what does it mean to be a catechist? It means the one who has believed in the Word of the Lord and who has made this Word the content, we could say, the flesh of his own life, the substance of his own life and has thus assimilated deeply this Word of the Lord; we can say that the Word works in him and wants to be expressed, like a child who wants to be born; Like this the Word wants to be expressed, given and transmitted. And then, like the apostles did, also these itinerant catechists and other apostles of our time leave their homes, their towns, their homeland, their parishes and seek other worlds, other peoples, other nations, learn another language to bring people and other communities closer to the Word of the Lord, to everything in which they have personally believed. I entrust you to Mary: you, your families, the communities and your mission as catechists. Dear friends, I wish you to walk well through this way, that you walk well on this path in the parish, even in the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes and as I have done with the youth so I also want to repeat for you to trust in this Mother of Christ and the Church.
I entrust to her especially your people, your families, your communities and then your mission as catechists, your catechetical commitment. I entrust you to Mary, the one who has believed in the Word of the Lord: may her faith bring abundant fruit to your faith. “