Thanks to EWTN, I was able to see the Vigil of Pentecost that Pope Benedict XVI held today with representatives all of the ecclesial movements and new communities.
For those that are not aware, this meeting was the second one of its type. The first occurred in 1998 and was a seminal moment in the life of so many movements. As mentioned in the post below, leading up to this one was a World Congress of Ecclesial Movements, spending three days reflecting on the theme of the beauty of being a Christian and ecclesial maturity.
I had thought about going to Rome for this, but it became clear early that my work schedule wouldn't permit it. I will participate tomorrow, however, in the local vigil that Cardinal George is holding with the ecclesial movements that are present in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
If you had a chance to see any of the coverage, I think the first thing you would be struck by is the youth of the crowd. This was 350,000 people, and of all ages, yes, but most of all young adults. So many movements were present. Focolare, Communion and Liberation (boy, were there loud shouts whenever CL was mentioned!), Community of the Beatitudes, Regnum Christi, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, St. Egidio, Cursillos, Schonstatt, Christian Life, etc. If you want a sign that the Holy Spirit breathes as the Spirit wills, it was on vibrant display.
And vibrancy. That, too, was on display. I realize many are skeptical about the movements, even though they don't know them well. They worry that the movements hurt parishes, as if that is the only outcome or as if that the parish is the only way in which the Church lives.
A lot of the songs that were sung may be unfamiliar to most. The choir was made up of members from many movements (quite a few have a serious emphasis and love for singing). One of the songs, for example, was from the movement I belong to, Communion and Liberation. The song, Povera Voce, which translates:
"Poor is the voice of one who doesn't exist./Such is our voice if it no longer has a reason./It must cry out, implore / that life's breath never cease. / But it must sing out because there is life. / All of life pleads for eternity; / our voice which asks Love for life / can't die, it can't end. / So ours is not a poor voice of a man who doesn't exist. / It's a voice that sings with a reason."
That's what comes through so clearly from all of these movements: the having found a reason, that being a Person, Jesus Christ. This is not to say that other facets of the Church's life don't allow for the encounter with Christ. To the contrary! But it is on such display within many of these movements.
I hope someone publishes the texts of the Vigil soon. At some point, I'm sure, Communion and Liberation will have some of them on their website -- at the very least, the Pope's homily and Fr. Carron's reflection.