Visit to the parish of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ 12-14-1980
St. John Paul II
Rome, December 14, 1980
The Neocatechumenal Communities are present, walking what they call the “Way”, and working apostolically in various parishes in Rome. Because of this, the Pope frequently meets them during his pastoral visits to the different parishes in the city and always addresses words of encouragement and exhortation. Here, we refer to the meeting he had on Sunday, December 14, in the Roman parish of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with four Neocatechumenal Communities who work there. In the crypt of the temple, where the Communities gather, Kiko greeted the Holy Father on everyone’s behalf and John Paul II spoke to them spontaneously like this:
“We have met many times in several parishes in Rome – the last time was in the parish of the Canadian Martyrs. Arriving here I have met and embraced many children. This has made me suddenly think of the words of Christ who once said that we should all ‘become like little children’, even if we are fifty or sixty years old, or more; We must be like children. We are speaking precisely of the supernatural filiation, which becomes rooted in us and is initiated at the time of Baptism. You who, as neocatechumens, focused your spirituality on the mystery of Baptism, you must live profoundly the mystery of divine filiation, the mystery of being children of God and all that comes from this reality that constitutes the true power underlying divine filiation.
This is essentially what I wanted to say to you; but I tell you in a particular way because you are parishioners of the parish of the Nativity, where the mystery of the Son of God made man is at the center of community life and also because the feast of Christmas is approaching. I hope that you will walk always, and always progress in that inner and supernatural reality of Grace, the grace of being God’s adoptive children, made like his only begotten Son who became a man to attract us and to make us like Himself.” When the Pope finished saying these words, Kiko introduced to him some itinerant catechists who, formed in the parish of the Nativity, are now giving to different countries of the world. Among them was a young priest who had just returned from Latin America. The priest wanted to explain to John Paul II the dramatic situation facing missionaries and catechists, especially in Central and South America. “We need -said the priest- to be encouraged, Holy Father, because the situation that Central America is passing through is very difficult. We have returned like Saint Paul, wondering if we run in vain, because we find ourselves in the situation where we don’t know if the Church is the Church of revolution, as many people say there, or whether it is to announce Jesus Christ.”
Before the priest had finished speaking, the Pope said in a strong and clear voice:
“Announce Christ only!
I will give you the answer immediately: Announce Christ! And Christ only! (a thunderous applause emphasized the words of the Supreme Shepherd). I can add -continued the Holy Father- that not a day goes by when I do not I pray for those countries, especially for the most tormented, those which I follow with love and trust. You have to know -the Pope concluded after a brief pause – that there they have also a very powerful Mother!”