Visit to the parish of Santa Ana de Casal Morena 12-2-1984
St. John Paul II
Rome, December 2, 1984
The Neocatechumens, who are 110 in total and were present with their families, are the first to meet with Pope John Paul II. They have welcomed him in the room that is usually used to celebrate the Eucharist. With their customary style, they have sung and accompanied by clapping their hands. An authentic grace for our parish, D. Amadeo had said of them and the Pope has repeated it, introducing himself to those who joined the community from the first moment when there was only a small chapel which barely fit 100 people; They have known how to transmit -especially to young people preparing for the sacraments of Christian initiation- their spirit of welcome and relationship with the Word of God. With them, said D. Amadeo, we have lived through the first poverty; the one when we didn’t even have the space to be together; with them we have lived the second poverty, that of our hearts undernourished by the spirit of Christ as we have discovered it in a confrontation with his Word; with them we have lived the third poverty; what our attitude has become towards the grace that is given to us every day and that we want to preserve as a true wealth of the heart. The Pope, once a representative of the three communities briefly explained the phases of the journey they have already taken, addressed the gathered with the following words:
“You have introduced me very well to what your community is in this parish: the pastor did it first and then your representative. I see that this parish is also being constructed in the sense of the building, of a material complex; but we know well that the parish is built above all on faith, on Baptism that prepares us for the Eucharist: this is the spiritual building. Baptism means catechumenate and neocatechumenate means that we must return to the way that once prepared our ancestors, the first Christians, for Baptism to become children of God, coheirs of Christ. Here is the Neocatechumenate, as a temporary reality, that means a community that rediscovers in the parish the newness of the Christian life, its freshness, its originality, because this is life in its full sense, the divine life. This is the life that is projected ahead of us for all eternity, not just the life of these years here on earth. Life with God, life as children of God, given life by the Only Begotten Son of God who is the Word, the Word incarnate and born of the Virgin Mary: Jesus Christ. I wish you to be a good leaven of the newness of Christian life in this community of Santa Ana.
I bless you from the heart.”