More than 120,000 people are expected to arrive from 150 ecclesial realities, from many countries in all the continents. It is a meeting for ecclesial movements, new communities, associations and lay organizations that will take place in St. Peter’s Square on May 18-19.
The event is one of many initiatives taking place during the Year of Faith. It was presented by Archbishop Rino Ficishella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, during a press conference in the press room of the Holy See.
The slogan chosen for the event is significant: “I believe! Increase the faith in us.” “The personal pronouns used in this phrase,” the prelate explained, “attest to the underlying meaning. Each member of the Church is called to personally pronounce his adherence to Christ and to the Church.” It is a free and personal choice. But he also says that faith is communitarian, it’s an “us” imbued with community values, principally those of the Church. “So many men, women and youths,” he went on “have rediscovered in these movements not only the faith that they had lost,” but “they have undergone a real and true conversion of life.” “These ecclesial realities,” he stated, “are one of the most evident fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” These words powerfully echoed the expression used by Benedict XVI who, on Pentecost 2006, defined the new ecclesial realities “one of the most important novelties brought about by the Holy Spirit in the Church for the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.”
Archbishop Fisichella continued by saying that the choice of Pentecost is meant to make it understood that “in the Church today these new ecclesial realities are a sign of the Risen Lord who guides His Church in the work of evangelization.”
The start of the meeting in Saint Peter’s Square is set to begin at 15:00, and continue with testimonies and musical and artistic performances. The international Gen Verde band and 150 members of various members of different movements will also perform at different moments.
Pope Francis will join them at around 18:00 and, after having heard the testimonies from Ireland Pakistan, will participate in an open discussion, answering some questions.
On Sunday, May 19th, the Pope will celebrate the Mass at 10:30 in Saint Peter’s Square, followed by the Regina coeli.
During these days of preparation some words of John Paul II have been returning to mind, from the first grand meeting on Pentecost 1998:: “What a great need there is these days for mature Christians, aware of their baptismal dignity, of their own vocation and mission in the Church and in the world! What a great need for living communities! And so we have the movements and new ecclesial communities: these are the answer from the Holy Spirit to this dramatic challenge at the end of the millennium. You are this providential answer.”