Category Archives: Communion & Liberation

What friendship can do… celebrating Verdi with the Little Prince School in mind

I am sure you know that the famed composer Giuseppe Verdi is celebrating his 200th birthday this year. What you may not be aware of is that the attendees of the Ravenna Festival on July 13th became friends with 350 students at the Little Prince School in Nairobi, Kenya. Distance is no barrier for friendship with students.

While attending the Verdi opera Nabucco (a four act opera composed in 1841) directed by famed Italian Conductor Riccardo Muti, the attendees marvelously generated a $9,000 gift for Little Prince School. Cristina Muti the director of Ravenna Festival sat in the booth drawing people to be generous. The Little Prince School is supported by AVSI, an international aid, educational and cultural organization.

More on this beautiful event can be found here.

AVSI stands for The Association of Volunteers in International Service, founded in 1972 in Italy. Its NYC doors opened in 2001 and they have an office in Washington, DC. It works in 38 countries. AVSI’s method of aid is based on personal friendship through a network of interested peoples. Hence, the principles are:

  1. Centrality of the person
  2. Starting with the positive
  3. Do with
  4. Development of Civil Society and Subsidiarity
  5. Partnership

AVSI is directed by Catholic Social Teaching and inspired by the life of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation founded by the Servant of God Father Luigi Giussani.

Rimini Meeting 2013: The Human Person: a State of Emergency

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The poster for the annual Rimini Meeting was sent out. This is an annual meeting organized by members of Communion and Liberation gathering c. 800K. Visit: www.meetingrimini.org

What Matters is Jesus and Letting Ourselves be Led by Him

Francis cross.jpgVeni Sancte Spiritus.

Veni per Mariam.
We can never forget these words.
It is well known that the Holy Father met with the various ecclesial movements, communities, associations and lay groups on the Vigil of Pentecost, 18 May 2013.
His Holiness gave an address at the Pentecost Vigil celebration and a homily at Mass for Pentecost: these items are edited in one document for our study. 
For your convenience: What Matters is Jesus.pdf
Our perseverance in the gift of Faith given relies on the witness of others. Each of us has a long list of witnesses: parents, siblings, friends, school teachers, bishops, priests, deacons, sisters and nuns, the ordinary person fixing the car, or the elderly person facing illness with hope, and so on. Hopefully, we can say without issue that all the popes since the founding of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation have helped to see the face of Christ in clear and concrete ways.
May Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Benedict continue to bless our companionship and the work of person conversion to Jesus Christ.

The Modern Cross that Brings Us to our Knees

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John Waters, an Irish journalist  who follows Communion and Liberation, gave this personal witness to the gathering of ecclesial movements with Pope Francis, “The Modern Cross that Brings Us to our Knees” (May 18, 2013). 


John is known to many of us in the USA because of his presence at the annual New York Encounter and because of his reflections in Traces magazine, or just because his writing finds a place on the online journal, Il Susidiario. John knows the reality of sin, evil , despair, and isolation. He knows what it means to be at bottom as a result of alcohol abuse. John is a very good man who knows what it means to be a fragile human being sustained by the grace of God and by friendship. Whatever way you come to know John Waters, you ought to know that he lives his life one-day-at-a time in God’s grace. Some days the cross is heavy, and yet there are people good people who help to carry the burden of the cross.

We live, my friends, in deceptive times. In the past, man strove for perfection, knowing it was unattainable in this reality. Guided by certain faith in a loving Creator, on whom he remained dependent, man reached for the stars, not expecting to touch them, but understanding that the act of reaching allowed him to become fully himself.


Today, mankind strives for omnipotence, believing this obtainable. Consequently, man feels overwhelmingly alone – that everything depends on his own efforts.


The delusion thus fostered afflicts us all. It invades our minds and changes how we think and feel. And sometimes we feel -in spite of ourselves – that we ought not to need God. Not, I stress, that we don’t need Him, but that we OUGHT NOT to need Him.

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When the Church is closed off, it gets sick…we need many witnesses

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A Saturday May 19th Q&A session with the various members of ecclesial movements and Pope Francis was inspiring to me. More than 120 thousand attended the events. The pope said much; much of it not available in print but what is available is here due the translations of the Vatican Information Service. It is hard to nail the pope down on all the things he said because a fair of amount of talks are off-the-cuff. This 3 minute video presentation by Rome Reports gives a good sense as to what we are supposed to be about. Nevertheless, there is enough to reflect on and to see where we find ourselves viz-a-viz Francis’ response.

Q: “How were you able to achieve certainty of faith in your life, and what path can you indicate to us so that each one of us can overcome our fragility of faith?”


A: “I have had the good fortune to grow up in a family where the faith was lived in a simple and concrete manner … The first proclamation is in the home, within the family, right? And this makes me think of the love of so many mothers and so many grandmothers in the transmission of the faith. … We do not find our faith in the abstract, no! It is always a person who preaches it to us, who tells us who Jesus is, who gives us the faith, who gives us the first announcement. … But there is a very important day for me: September 21, 1953. I was almost 17. It was the ‘Students’ Day’…. Before going to the festival, I went to my parish and met a priest I did not know, but I felt the need to confess. … After confession I felt that something had changed. I was not the same. I felt a voice call me: I was convinced that I had to become a priest. This experience of faith is important. We say that we must seek God, go to him to ask for forgiveness … but when we go, He is already waiting for us. He is the first one there! … And this creates wonder in the hearts of those who do not believe, and this is how faith grows! With an encounter with a Person, with an encounter with the Lord.”


Regarding fragility: “Fragility’s biggest enemy curiously enough, is fear. But do not be afraid! We are weak, we know it but He is stronger! If you are with him, then there is no problem! A child is fragile–I see many today–but they are with their fathers and their mothers so they are safe! We too are safe with the Lord; we are secure. Faith grows with the Lord, out of the very hands of the Lord.”

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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]yahoo.com.
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