Communion & Liberation: February 2010 Archives

Massimo Camisasca.jpgOn February 26th Zenit published an article by Father Massimo Camisasca looking at what he considers to be the pillars (prayer & Liturgy) of priestly reform in the Catholic Church. Reading a bit of Church history recently there's been a lot to consider when thinking about the state of the Catholic Church viz. the rise of Portestantism and then the decline of the Christian religion in some parts of the US and the world. Father Massimo Camisasca is the founder and superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo. The Fraternity was founded in 1985 and recognized as a Society of Apostolic Life in 1999.


Statistical data of the past 30 years reveals an increase of 5% more diocesan priests worldwide, compared with an increase of 48% more baptized persons.
This alone could explain the question in the title of my latest book, "Padre ci saranno ancora sacerdoti nel futuro della Chiesa?" (Father, Will There Still Be Priests in the Future of the Church?) -- a theme that underlies the entire text.
However, even more than the number of priests, the Church is interested in the truth of their experience. For reasons connected with my work as superior of a fraternity of missionaries, I travel throughout the world and am in contact with the most diverse realities. And, meeting with priests of different regions, I note that many of them experience difficulties not so much of an ideological type as of an emotional order.
Why is it that today the priestly life -- which has made thousands of men happy and contributed enormously to the spiritual growth of humanity -- is going through such a profound qualitative crisis?
My [Italian-language] book stems from this question. It is an attempt to rethink the life of a priest from its roots.

The regeneration of priestly life is one of the conditions for the new flowering of Christianity in Europe, and more generally, in our jaded West (Asia and Africa merit separate treatment).
I have attempted to trace the path for a rebirth returning to the fundamentals of the priesthood. I find one of those fundamentals in prayer.
Today many priests lose themselves in action, in the infinite number of activities and preoccupations that entrap them. For the action of each one of us to always be a source of nourishment, it must be constantly redirected to our relationship with Christ. And the place of our relationship with Christ is prayer, inseparable from silence.
Silence, prayer, reflection and study are the answer to one of the evils that afflict the figure of the priest: activism, which remains on the surface of things and absorbs the time of our energies and our feelings. Instead, action that stems from charity introduces us in the work of God, who precedes and exceeds us.

Another pillar of the renewal of priestly life is the liturgy. I say this following the teaching of the Pope. I am not ruled by the desire to accommodate myself to a current, but by a profound conviction that is born from experience.
If the priest does not rediscover the true meaning of the liturgy in his life, he cannot find himself.
Surmounting the process of trivialization, which we have witnesses in the last 30 years, it is necessary to return to that "fons et origo" that the Second Vatican Council identifies in the liturgy.
When it is faithful to the one who instituted it, when it is lived in all its rigorous totality and is attentive to the tradition of the Church, the liturgy is the place of education to communion.
The protagonist of the liturgy is Christ. By living the liturgy, we can enter into the life of God, and only thus can we priests be an effective company of men.
In the third place, the emotional question is central in the life of a priest. Loneliness is the other great evil that today afflicts thousands of priests.
Only by discovering himself a son can the priest be a father.

Friendship is a positive experience in a person's emotional life. In the Church there is still much fear of friendship. Pathologies are not channeled if one is not helped to develop a healthy life.
Unhealthy and negative friendships, which because of this are not proper friendships, must not close us off from the essential value of these bonds of preference that open us to the love of others and help us to understand who God is.

Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of death of the great priest and founder of Communion & Liberation, Monsignor Luigi Giussani. More on that later. However, the NY community of Communion & Liberation gathered at Saint Patrick's Cathedral for the Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated by the Archbishop, Timothy M. Dolan. Among those in the sanctuary were Bishop William McCormack (retired auxiliary bishop of NY celebrating 51 years a priest today) and Bishop Gerald Walsh (NY auxiliary bishop and rector of Saint Joseph's Seminary), Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, Carmelite Father Eugene and Father Daniel O'Reilly with the seminarians from Dunwoodie and the collegians from St John Neumann Seminary Residence.

A few times in the course of the Mass and following, Dolan expressed his gratitude for the presence and witness of Communion and Liberation in the Archdiocese of NY. Today's Mass joins many others around the USA and in others parts of the world praying for Giussani and for the good of the movement. See where Mass is being offered here.

Jesus is tempted.jpg
In his homily, Archbishop Dolan reminded us of the deadly sins that cut us off from God, the Church community, others and ourselves. The gospel for today (Lk 4) is a stark reminder is that the Lord was tempted, but didn't capitulate to the temptations demonstrating a supreme trust in His Father. This he did by speaking of the Logic of Lent: the pilgrimage during the season of Lent is a movement away from sin and sinful tendencies inching toward life with the Trinity, the living God. In order for us to live holiness of life we need to live as those Christ matters, as though the truth the Church teaches does, in fact, set us free. We are made for communion, interpersonal relationships first with God and then with each other; selfishness and pride divides us. Ultimately, we have to take seriously the Scriptural warrants for life with God: purity of heart, humility of personality. The Christian life is not "my will be done," but it's the other way around, "Thy will be done, God.'

How do we decapitate sin? How do we live more intently this time of faith in Christ?

The 3 ancient Christian practices:

1. Prayer: the posture is the recollection that without God nothing is possible
2. Penance: self-denial to curb the human drive to disordered pleasures
3. Charity: mercy and self-gift as acts of love to live in a dignified way as God wants us to live.

When we do our part in self-emptying ourselves of sinful tendencies, God does His part in giving us what we need: true and lasting happiness.

The proffered the hope that Msgr. Luigi Giussani would be made a Doctor of the Church. I hope the Archbishop's words were heard in heaven!

A 12th century anthem was sung at the Preparation of the Altar at Mass, "Ave Regina Caelorum," musically arranged by Gregor Aichinger. Typically this hymn is sung after Compline from the feast of the Presentation of the Lord until Holy Thursday. A version of the text in English follows:

Hail, Queen of Heaven!
Hail, Mistress of Angels!
Hail, root, hail portal,
From which the Light for the world has Risen.
Rejoice, glorious Virgin,
Beautiful above all others.
Farewell, most gracious,
And pray for us to Christ.

A fitting reminder of the beauty of Mary, Mother of God and her role as intercessor for us before her son, Jesus. May she also intercede for Msgr. Luigi Giussani and for Communion and Liberation.
Way of the Cross 2010.jpg

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Communion & Liberation category from February 2010.

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