“The spiritual atmosphere of Europe can change”, Gerhard Pross, evangelical Christian of the YMCA in Germany, said this morning, speaking to 3000 people in the Liederhalle in Stuttgart.
This is what Vatican Radio said:
What is going on in Stuttgart is more than a congress, it is a deep spiritual experience. The testimonies of what the Holy Spirit is doing in Europe, mostly out of the gaze of the media, speak louder than words. “It is the strong witness”, said Gerhard Pross, “of a call of God to go out and bring new life to the desert of our society”. He referred to the first words of the newly elected Pope, Benedict XVI, saying “Our society has lost hope that the spiritual atmosphere of Europe can change”. “Where can we draw strength? From Jesus Christ. In Him is the source of the great riches of the spiritual life that we experience.”
This experience will become stronger and more effective, the more it is lived in communion. In fact, “Together for Europe” is more than just an event. It is the experience of a journey that is growing and in depth and breadth, among catholic and evangelical, orthodox and Anglican movements and communities, and also those of the free churches of Europe. It is a journey that began in 1999, marked by an important step in 2004: the first preparatory congress and large-scale gathering, also held in Stuttgart.
“God is the one at work in this ‘journey’ “, said Pross, “He is the one who has made possible the many sources of grace that the people of our time can draw on, to quench the deep thirst that they feel”. There are many striking effects of this journey. In Leipzig, sixteen movements together have been a sign of reconciliation for non-believers. They are new stimulus for overcoming persistent fears and diffidence between East and West Germany. In Albania, in a similar meeting, there are people from Kosovo: “A ray of light”. In Copenhagen, Denmark, the movements are breaking down prejudice between Catholics and Protestants. In Switzerland, a large day meeting with 48,000 people. All 2008 towns and villages are there with their flags, and a national movement of prayer is launched, the sign of a renewed spirit of faith and reconciliation. This morning they meditated on the spirituality of unity with a reading from a talk by Chiara Lubich. This afternoon, the participants are meeting in 20 different forums looking at a wide variety of spiritual and social themes.
Carla Cotignoli for Vatican Radio