Visit to the parish of San Lucas Evangelista 11-4-1979
St. John Paul II
Rome, November 4, 1979 *
The meeting with the five Neocatechumenal Communities that began their activity in the parish seven years ago, in 1972, was particularly significant.
The Holy Father has held a colloquium with those responsible for these communities, who have received him with a few words of greeting and presentation; among others, the catechist Franco has said:
“We also would like to add something, as catechists of this parish. Holy Father: it has given us great joy and admiration to read – although we have not yet been able to deepen it – the wonderful document “Catechesi Tradendae”. It has given us great joy to see how, at the same time as the magisterium of the Church issues these documents, there is already a reality. In said document, you say that a growth in faith is necessary so that there are people who can welcome, above all, those far from the Church; to the scattered. Behold, by the grace of the Lord, we have a reality that is growing, and for which we are very happy; also for these visits that you make to us. We love very much the itinerants. You, Holy Father, truly are an itinerant Pope who is carrying the Kerygma, is carrying this announcement of Jesus Christ risen from the dead, who has taken us out of our own death”.
Words of St. John Paul II:
Everyone has spoken very well. Your assistant priest, Don Giancarlo, also Franco (Franco is one of you, it seems to me, your spokesperson), explained to us best and exactly the spirit, the atmosphere, everything that constitutes your group; because a group is not only a number, it is a spirit. The group or rather the Community is always formed from within, inside, and it is within that the Holy Spirit touches each one us, what each one of us is, his personal intimacy, his spiritual intimacy, but it does not touch any of us separately, individually, because He created us to be a Community, to live in communion. He touches each of us to rebuild us in communion and this is how all these communities within the Christian communion can be explained, communities like yours. How many are they? -Five Communities.
I think that there is a rule, a simple rule: to give, one must have something, not in a material sense, but in a spiritual sense. To give, you must have something inside that is not material, but spiritual, and this invisible thing must be discovered.
I think that this is the rule of your Neocatechumenal movement; it is about discovering, rediscovering what you have inside. There are many baptized Christians, but perhaps they have not discovered their Baptism They have almost forgotten their Baptism. They are baptized people, their Baptism is in the documents, it is found in the parish registers, and is even registered in their hearts – but this interior registration is nearly dead, not awakened. It must be discovered! When you discover you have it, then you must give it. When you discover it, you cannot help but give it, because what you are discovering impels you to give it. In this way, all the apostles were born, all the apostles were born in this way. I think that if there are now itinerant catechists, if the Pope too has become itinerant, this is also a fruit he has discovered. Once you have discovered this richness, this mystery, this mystery of Christ, the mystery that makes up our own personal, spiritual, and Christian identity, you cannot help trying to give it to others.
I am very happy with this meeting. I hope you will continue. To continue means to follow the Holy Spirit and to follow also your vocation. Discovering this mystery of Christ living within us, we discover also our own vocation. And now I give you all my blessing.”
(*) Cfr. «L’Osservatore Romano», 5-6 November 1979.