LAlbacete.jpgWhen I first met Msgr. Giussani 16 years ago, I had no
idea what we would talk about. I flew up from Rome to Milan to have lunch with
“Don Gius” and a mutual friend who had arranged the meeting. I thought our
friend would guide the conversation, but the day before the meeting I learned
that he would not be there. It would just be a lunch meeting between Giussani
and myself. On the flight to Milan, I browsed through a book by Giussani that I
had picked up in order to have it autographed (L’Avvenimento Cristiano, The
Christian Event), and because our friend had told me it would help me understand
what Giussani was all about.

Paging through the book, trying to find common
interests that we could discuss, I found the following remarks by Fr. Giussani:
“‘The Redeemer of Man, Jesus Christ, is the center of the universe and of
history.’ When I heard John Paul II repeating these words during his first
speech (and the same sentence was literally, my friends can witness to it, the
usual text of our meditation),  the emotion I felt reminded me of the
dialectics developed between me and my students at school, and the deep tension
with which we gathered in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit.”  I was amazed because he seemed to be describing the same reaction
I had when, for the first time, I read Pope John Paul II’s first encyclical,
Redemptor Hominis, thirty years ago (March 4, 1979). RH begins with this
affirmation: “The Redeemer of Man, Jesus Christ, is the center of the universe
and of history. To Him go my thoughts and my heart in this solemn moment of the
world that the Church and the whole family in present-day humanity are now

Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, Traces, April 2009