Visit to the parish of San Mauro Abott 5-9-1982
St. John Paul II
Rome, May 9, 1982
At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father began the series of meetings with the various parish groups: all were obviously young and at the beginning of the Way. Along with this youth, the Pope was able to see, however, the great enthusiasm that enlivens these faithful who are determined to help the parish priest and his close collaborators to also animate the community. In the chapel, the Pope first met the catechists and the Neocatechumenal Communities whom the parish priest presented with these words:
“Your Holiness, I am pleased to introduce you to the groups in this parish: the group of First Communion, Post-Communion, Confirmation and Youth catechists. In December, the Neocatechumenal Community was established. The catechists have been adults. Some couples have come from the Parish of S. Timoteo, from Casal Palocco, from our southern sector. It is a diverse community of family groups from diverse backgrounds, both in the environment and in the cultural circle, rich and poor, but all rich in the Lord. These catechists have opened the Way in this parish. The head of the Community is Daniel who is also a singer, who with his wife Ana and several co-heads have begun to pave the way in this parish. The other catechists have come from outside following the invitation that I made to them: they are mothers, clergy, youth and also dads and sisters. They are Sisters of Providence and a Palominian sister who participate in the catechesis. Many of these come from afar, in the sense that they were not within the Church. They are people who had completely abandoned their relationship with the Lord Jesus.”
Domenico spoke, the catechist of the Neocatechumenal Community, who said how he and his friend Carlos came to San Mauro hoping to repeat the experience that they had for 7 years in San Timoteo: a experience of faith that has radically changed their lives and that of so many other companions of the Way.
The Pope responded:
“Thank you for your testimonies. Such testimonies can very well illustrate how much we have meditated today on the vine and the branches and how Christ brings life to each one, to the human heart, to the inner self and then to the social dimension of our life. We are in a chapel that replaces the parish church. Visiting the parish, the thought spontaneously occurred to me of the need for a Church. The Church does not yet exist, the Church as a building. But the Church is already built. The spiritual Church is built, through the Word of God and the Sacraments. It is built through the Word of God whose ministers, servants, apostles, you are the catechists.
It is also built with the sacraments, beginning with Baptism and you are, Neocatechumenal group, the witnesses to the strength of the sacrament because it is not about an idea, but a person who lives and vivifies: this is the sacrament. The sacrament gives us life, the Word of God brings us a light and the sacrament brings us divine life: divine light, divine life. So the Church is built thanks to your apostolate. I wish you to be the yeast for this construction of the living Church of San Mauro and I bless you from my heart.”