ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Dear Friends in Christ,
I am pleased to greet the members of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities on the occasion of your annual meeting. Your assembly, which brings together representatives of such communities from around the world, bears witness to the remarkable diversity of the Holy Spirit’s gifts, all of which are given for building up the Church’s unity in the bond of peace (cf. Eph. 4:3).
The recognition in 1990 of your Fraternity as a Private Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right was a sign that charismatic covenant communities have acted as a force for the renewal of the Church in fidelity to the word of God, in holiness of life and commitment to the task of evangelization. The ecclesial communion which your Fraternity strives to promote with the Bishops and the See of Peter, as well as between individual communities, is in fact a mark of your true Catholic identity. Indeed, "communion gives rise to mission and mission is accomplished in communion" (John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 32).
As cenacles of prayer, evangelical witness and sensitivity to the action of the Holy Spirit, your communities have a specific role to play in the renewal of God’s People in holiness in the face of an increased lack of a sense of God’s presence and consequent religious indifference. Your efforts to make known to others the joy of your faith in Christ will not only contribute to strengthening the life of the local Churches to which you belong, but will also inspire a deeper and more mature faith among your own members. In particular, I encourage you in joyful fidelity to the moral teachings of the Church. As I noted in the Encyclical "Veritatis Splendor", "the new evangelization will show its authenticity and unleash all its missionary force when it is carried out through the gift not only of the word proclaimed but also of the word lived" (John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 107). Likewise, your emphasis on the centrality of Scripture for the Christian life can greatly help ecumenical understanding and co-operation, as all believers seek to hear the voice of the Spirit which continues to speak to the Churches (cf. Rev. 2:29).
Your witness can be particularly important for young people, upon whom the ideal of holiness exerts a great fascination. I especially encourage you, as a lasting fruit of this "Year of the Family", to proclaim the sanctity of marriage and the family in accordance with God’s plan, and to work to ensure respect for God’s gift of life at every level of society. As the Church prepares to celebrate the Third Christian Millennium by committing all her resources to a new proclamation of the Gospel, the members of your Communities are being challenged to bear ever more convincing witness to the truths of the Gospel as taught by the Church. For this, I am certain that you will encourage your fellow-members to make a careful reading and attentive study of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church".
Dear friends, I offer my prayerful good wishes for your Meeting, and I am confident that your deliberations will foster an ever closer bond between the Church’s Pastors and the Charismatic Covenant Communities. Invoking upon all of you the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom and fortitude, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
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