There were songs, experiences, and artistic pieces from around the world, all celebrating the figure of the priest in today’s world. This event was promoted and put together by priests of the Focolare and Schoenstatt movements, in collaboration with the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal and other Church organisations.
The main objective of the gathering was to highlight examples of authentic communion in priestly life which are supported by the new charismas, and how these can be a gift for clergy. A particularly meaningful artistic piece prepared by the musical group Gen Verde together with a Romanian Orthodox choir, the Psalmody Transylvania and the drama group Ars Amoris, about the life of Jean Marie Vianney.
Three survivors shared the story of the massacre of a group of seminarians in Burundi, one of them now a priest, in memory of those who bore witness with their lives that unity between these warring peoples (Hutu and Tutsi) is possible. This was followed by the story of Brendan Purcell, an Irish priest who overcame a spiritual trial in which his celibacy was put at risk, by embracing even more radically his choice of God. Finally there was the story of a German priest who fell into alcoholism and was saved by his community.
“The breath of communion is essential for the health of the body of the Church,” said Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who came to bring greetings from the pope. A priest, who spoke at the conference, said: “Today I start again to live my priesthood with the enthusiasm of the first years and the maturity of the 40 years that I have been a priest.” The reactions of the laity were also significant:. “Today I saw the Church of tomorrow, the Church that will accompany my children as they grow.” The global embrace of the Church, the unity of the Church that I’ve discovered, has taken up a central place in my heart.”
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