Visit to the parish of San Antonio at Piazza Asti 5-6-1979
St. John Paul II
Rome, May 6, 1979 *
On Sunday May 6, 1979, a day dedicated to vocations, Pope John Paul II visited the Parish of San Antonio at Piazza Asti (at Tuscolano). There, after having celebrated Holy Mass at 5:30 pm, he had a separate meeting with the different groups of the parish and with the two Neocatechumenal communities that had been walking for two-and-a-half years and for six months, respectively, with their catechists from the 2nd Community of Santa Francesca Cabrini. The Pope, accompanied by Cardinal Poletti and by the Bishop of the Mons. Salimei area, was welcomed with the song: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Rebuilt ”(from the song of Tobias); while the brothers were singing, John Paul II had been greeting the groups and gave to each one a word, stopping at the end to sing the Hallelujah together with the cantors. When the song was finished, the parish priest presented the Way to the Pope:
“Holiness, they are two communities which are called Neocatechumenal and with this name, try to understand the path of conversion which they have started to rediscover the faith they received in Baptism: faith that could have remained as an embryo, by which through this Way of faith, it must hatch and can grow, to be an adult. It is a way, we can say, to call those who are far away, the sinners, those who’ve never heard of conversion and then arrive to a testimony of love for God and their neighbor. This is all”.
The Pope has then said:
“All this you explain with your Community, with your fraternal communion and with your joy, also with your singing, and certainly with prayer; because when one discovers the true reality of Baptism, of the Grace of God, of our divine filiation, when all this is discovered, one enters in the deep and also communicative joy – meaning that it is about communicating this discovery and this joy to others. I think this was the Spirit of the catechumen groups of the Early Church and this is also the Spirit of the Neocatechumenal groups in the contemporary Church.
I wish you to continue like this and to pray for the Pope sometime.”
(*) Cfr. «L’Osservatore Romano», 7-8 mayo 1979.