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Thursday, 14 March 2002


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. With great joy I welcome you, representatives of the Group of Renewal in the Holy Spirit, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of your presence in Italy. I greet the coordinator of the National Service Committee and those who assist him.

I think back with pleasure to the meetings I have had with you in past years:  from the first, on the Solemnity of Christ the King in 1980, to our meeting in 1998, during the prayer vigil of the Meeting with Ecclesial Movements and New Communities on the eve of Pentecost. Nor can I forget the contribution of the "Renewal in the Spirit" during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, in particular helping young people and families, who from the beginning of my Pontificate I have constantly selected as priority targets for pastoral involvement.

I would also like to thank your directors for wishing to give to the Renewal a definite emphasis on collaboration with the hierarchy and with the leaders of other movements, associations and communities.

2. Yes! The Renewal in the Spirit can be considered a special gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church in our time. Born in the Church and for the Church, your movement is one in which, following the light of the Gospel, the members experience the living encounter with Jesus, fidelity to God in personal and community prayer, confident listening to his Word and a vital rediscovery of the Sacraments, not to mention courage in trials and hope in hardship.

Love for the Church and submission to her Magisterium, in a process of maturing in the Church supported by a solid permanent formation are relevant signs of your intention to avoid the risk of favouring, unwittingly, a purely emotional experience of the divine, an excessive pursuit of the "extraordinary" and a private withdrawal that may shrink from apostolic outreach.

3. On this special occasion I desire ideally to bless three projects, which you have launched, that send out groups and communities of the Renewal in the Spirit "from the Upper Room" with generous missionary ardour.

I am referring first of all to your support of the implantatio Ecclesiae in Moldavia, in close collaboration with the "Regina Pacis" Foundation of the Archdiocese of Lecce, establishing a missionary community associated with the Diocese of Chisinau. I greet with affection the pastors of those Ecclesial Communities, Archbishop Cosmo Francesco Ruppi and Bishop Anton Cosa, and the other bishops taking part in this meeting.

Another important project is your work of spiritual guidance in Marian shrines, privileged places of the Spirit, that gives you the opportunity to offer pilgrims ways of deepening their faith and spiritual reflection.

Then there is the "Burning Bush" project which is an invitation to ongoing adoration, day and night. You have wished to promote this appropriate initiative to help the faithful "return to the Upper Room", so that united in the contemplation of the Eucharistic mystery, they may intercede by means of the Spirit for the full unity of Christians and for the conversion of sinners.

These are three different areas of apostolic activity in which your experience can provide a very providential witness. May the Lord guide your labours and make your resolutions bear abundant fruit for yourselves and for the Church.

4. In the final analysis, all your evangelizing activities tend to foster in the People of God constant growth in holiness. Indeed, holiness is the priority in every age, and therefore also in our own time. The Church and the world need saints, and we ourselves become holier the more we allow the Holy Spirit to configure us to Christ. This is the secret of the regenerating experience of the "outpouring of the Spirit", a typical experience that defines the process of growth proposed for the members of your groups and communities. With all my heart I hope that Renewal in the Spirit may be a true "gymnasium" in the Church for prayer, asceticism, virtue and holiness.

In a special way continue to love and spread love for the prayer of praise, the form of prayer that recognizes more immediately that God is God; praises him for his own sake, gives him glory for who he is, long before thinking of what he does (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2639).

In our time that is so hungry for hope, make the Holy Spirit known and loved. Help bring to life that "culture of Pentecost", that alone can make fruitful the civilization of love and friendly coexistence among peoples. With fervent insistence, never tire of praying "Come Holy Spirit! Come! Come!".

May the Blessed Mother of Christ and of the Church, the Virgin at prayer in the Upper Room, always be with you! May the Blessing I cordially impart to you, and to all the members of Renewal of the Holy Spirit, also go with you!


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