Tag Archives: Communion and Liberation

The miracle we all await, Jesus, Father Julián Carrón says


Father Julián
Carrón, the head of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, gave this message for Christmas
. He writes from Milan, Italy.

In the mystery of the Incarnation, man and history

That Christianity
gives joy and breadth is also a thread that runs through my whole life.
Ultimately someone who is always only in opposition could probably not endure
life at all
” (Light of the World, part 1). These words of Benedict XVI
challenge us to ask ourselves what it means to be Christians today. Continuing
to believe simply out of devotion, habit, or tradition, withdrawing into one’s
shell, does not meet the challenge
. Similarly, reacting strongly and going on
the offensive in order to recover lost territory is insufficient
; the Pope even
says that it would be unendurable. 
Neither path -withdrawing from the world or opposing it- are capable of
arousing interest in Christianity, because neither respects what will always be
the canon of the Christian announcement: the Gospel. Jesus entered the world
with a capacity to attract that fascinated the people of His time
. As Péguy
said, “He did not waste His years groaning and demanding explanations of the
wickedness of the times. He cut through … making Christianity.” Christ
introduced into history a human presence so fascinating that anyone who ran
into it had to take it into consideration, had to reject it or accept it. No
one was left indifferent

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Manuela Camagni’s funeral oration by Pope Benedict

At 7:30 this morning in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI offered the Sacrifice of the Mass in the Paoline Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, for peaceful repose of the soul of Manuela Camagni, the Memor Domini who was a part of the Papal Family who died November 24 as a consequence of being hit by a car.
 It is not a frequent occurrence that we hear much of the inner life of the Apostolic Household and equally little is revealed about the consecrated lay people who make up the Memores Domini community of Communion & Liberation. Plus, Manuela’s death, for some reason, has had interesting affect on me, not only because I am a member of the Fraternity of Communion & Liberation but because of the recorded witness of Manuela herself, and how Manuela affected the Holy Father and those with whom he lives. What follows is Pope Benedict’s homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Manuela Camagni4.jpg

In the last days of her life, our dear Manuela used to talk about the fact that on November 29 she would have belonged to the community of Memores Domini for thirty years. And she said that with a great joy, getting ready – such was the impression – for an interior feast celebrating her path of thirty years towards the Lord, in communion with the Lord’s friends. But the feast was different from what was expected: precisely on November 29 we took her to the cemetery, we sang asking for the Angels to accompany her to Heaven, we guided her to the ultimate feast, to God’s great feast, to the Lamb’s Wedding. Thirty years walking towards the Lord, entering the Lord’s feast. Manuela was a “wise, prudent virgin,” she had oil in her lamp, the oil of faith, a lived faith, a faith nourished by prayer, by a dialogue with the Lord, by her meditation on the Word of God, by communion in her friendship with Christ. And this faith was hope, wisdom, it was certainty that faith opens up to the real future. And faith was charity, it was giving herself for the others, it was living in the service of the Lord for the others. I, personally, must thank for her availability to put her energies at work in my house, with this spirit of charity and of hope that comes from faith.

She entered the Lord’s feast as a prudent and wise virgin because she lived not in the superficiality of those who forget the greatness of our vocation, but in the great expectation of the eternal life; so she was ready when the Lord came.

Memor Domini for thirty years

Pope before Manuela.jpg

Saint Bonaventure says that the memory of the Creator is inscribed in the depths of our being. And precisely because this memory is inscribed in our being, we can recognize the Creator in His creation, we can remember, see His traces in this cosmos created by Him. Saint Bonaventure also says that this memory of the Creator is not merely a memory of the past, because the source is present, it is a memory of the presence of the Lord; it is also a memory of the future, because it is certain that we come from the goodness of God and that we are called to strive for the goodness of God. Therefore in this memory there is the element of joy, our origin in the joy that is God, and our call to reach the great joy. And we know that Manuela was a person interiorly penetrated by joy, precisely that joy that derives from the memory of God. But Saint Bonaventure also says that our memory, as well as all of our existence, is wounded by sin: therefore memory is obscured, is covered by other superficial memories, and we aren’t able any more to overcome these other superficial memories, to go deeper, all the way to the true memory that sustains our being. Therefore, because of this oblivion of God, because of this forgetfulness of the fundamental memory, also joy is covered, obscured. Yes, we know that we were created for the joy, but we don’t know any more where we can find this joy, and we look for it in various places. Today we see this desperate search for joy that increasingly moves away from its true source, the true joy. Oblivion of God, oblivion of our true memory. Manuela was not one of those who had forgotten memory: she lived precisely in the living memory of the Creator, in the joy of His creation, seeing God in all creation, even in the daily events of our lives, and she knew that joy comes from this memory – present and future.

Memores Domini

Pope celebrates Mass for Manuela Camagni.JPG

The Memores Domini know that Christ, on the eve of His passion, renewed, or better, elevated our memory. “Do this in memory of me,” He said, and in this way He gave us the memory of His presence, the memory of the gift of Himself, of the gift of His Body and of His Blood, and in this gift of His Body and Blood, in this gift of His infinite love, we touch again with our memory a stronger presence of God, of His gift of Himself. As Memor Domini, Manuela lived exactly this living memory, that the Lord gives Himself with His Body and renews our knowledge of God.

In His dispute with the Sadducees about resurrection, the Lord tells them, who don’t believe in it: “God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob”. Those three men are part of God’s name, are inscribed in God’s name, are in God’s name, in God’s memory, and therefore the Lord says: God is not for the dead, He is a God for the living people, and those who are part of God’s name, those who are in God’s memory are alive. Unfortunately, we human beings with our memory can remember only a shadow of the people we have loved. But God’s memory doesn’t keep only shadows, it originates life: the dead live here, with His life and in His life they have entered God’s memory, which is life. This is what the Lord tells us today: you are inscribed in God’s name, you live in God with a true life, you live from the true source of life.

So, in this moment of sadness, we get comforted. And the new liturgy after the Council dares to teach us to sing “Halleluiah” even during the Mass for the dead. This is bold! We feel most of all the pain for the loss, we feel most of all the absence, the past, but the liturgy knows that we are in the Body of Christ and that we live starting from the memory of God, which is our memory. In this interlacement of His memory with ours we are together, we are living. Let’s pray the Lord that we may feel this communion of memory more and more, that our memory of God in Christ becomes more alive, so that we can feel that our true life is in Him and in Him we stay united. In this sense, we sing “Halleluiah”, certain that the Lord is life and that His love never ends. Amen.

Father Julián Carrón’s message on the occasion of Manuela Camgni’s death can be read here.

Pope remembers Manuela Camagni: a witness to a relationship that’s stronger than death

Manuela Camagni2.jpgWhat follows is Pope Benedict XVI’s message sent on
the occasion of the Mass of Christian Burial for Manuela Camagni, 56, a member
of the association of Memores Domini (the consecrated lay group of Communion
& Liberation) who with 3 other Memores worked for the Pope in his personal apartments
at the Vatican. As mentioned in a blog post last week, Manuela was killed
Tuesday/Wednesday after being struck by a car. The Reverend Monsignor Georg
Ganswein, the Pope’s personal secretary, read the message at the funeral, Monday
in Bagno di Romagna, Emilia-Romagna (northern Italian city). The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at La Chiesa di San Piero in Bagno di Romagna.

I would willingly
have presided over the funeral of dear Manuela Camagni, but –as you can
imagine– it was not possible for me. However, communion in Christ allows us
Christians a real spiritual closeness, in which we share the prayer and
affection of the heart. In this profound bond I greet all of you, in particular
Manuela’s family, the diocesan bishop, the priests, the Memores Domini, and her

I would like to give here very briefly my testimony of our sister, who
has gone to heaven. Many of you knew Manuela for a long time. I was able to
benefit from her presence and her service in the papal apartment, in the last
five years, in a family dimension. Because of this I wish to thank the Lord for
the gift of Manuela’s life, for her faith, for her generous response to her
. Divine Providence led her to a discreet but precious service in the
Pope’s house. She was happy about this and took part joyfully in family
moments: at Holy Mass in the morning, at vespers, at meals in common and in the
various and significant happenings of the house.

Her departure, so sudden, and
also the way in which she was taken, have given us great grief, which only
faith can console. I find much support in thinking of the words that form the
name of her community: Memores Domini
. Meditating on these words, on the
meaning, I find a sense of peace, because they call to a profound relationship
that is stronger than death
. Memores Domini means: “those who remember the
Lord,” namely, persons who live in the memory of God and Jesus, and in
this daily remembrance, full of faith and love, they find the meaning of
everything, from small actions to great choices, of work, study and fraternity.
The memory of the Lord fills the heart with profound joy, as an ancient hymn of
the Church
says: “Jesu dulcis memoria, dans vera cordis gaudia
[Jesus sweet memory, that gives true joy to the heart].

Hence, because of this
it gives me peace to think that Manuela is a “memor Domini,” a person
who lived in the memory of the Lord. This relationship with him is more
profound than the abyss of death. It is a bond that nothing and no one can
break, as St. Paul says: “[Nothing] can separate us from the love of God,
in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). Yes, if we remember the Lord, it
is because he first remembers us. We are “memores Domini” because he
is “memor nostri,” he remembers us with love of a parent, a brother,
a friend, also at the moment of death.
If at times it seems that at that moment
he is absent, that he forgets us, in reality we are always present to him, we
are in his heart. Wherever we fall, we fall into his hands. Precisely there,
where no one can accompany us, God awaits us: He is our Life.

Dear brothers and
sisters, in this faith full of hope, which is Mary’s faith near the cross of
Jesus, I celebrated the Mass for Manuela’s soul the very morning of her death.
And while I accompany with prayer the Christian rite of her burial, I impart
with affection to her family, her fellow sisters and all of you my blessing.

Manuela Camagni, an aid to the Pope mourned

Pieta GBellini.jpgManuela Camagni, 56, a member of the Memores Domini (the lay consecrated group of Communion and Liberation), died earlier today as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident Tuesday evening in Rome. She was taken to Rome’s Umberto I Polyclinic for treatment and latter died. Manuela served in the Apostolic Household helping to care for the temporal needs of Pope Benedict XVI. She worked closely with Monsignors Georg Gaenswain and Alfred Xuereb, the two personal secretaries of the Pope. Manuela, with the three other Memores Domini, are among the closest collaborators, “the family” of His Holiness.

The Holy Father is very personally moved by the death of Manuela and offer Mass for her soul this morning.

Manuela Camagni.jpg

I bid you to pray for Manuela Camagni, her family and the Memores Domini.

May the Lord grant mercy, peace, light and rest to Manuela. May her memory be eternal.

Communion & Liberation invites prayer for Iraqi Christians on Sunday

Thumbnail image for Fraternity CL Logo.JPGCommunion and Liberation follows the call of the
Italian bishops to pray Sunday, November 21 for the Christians of Iraq, “who
are suffering the tremendous trial of blood witness to the faith” (Final
communiqué of the Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, November 11, 2010).

Movement invites all its members to participate in Mass according to the
intentions of Benedict XVI, who the day after the grave attack in the Syrian
Catholic cathedral of Baghdad that left dozens dead and wounded, said, “I pray
for the victims of this absurd violence, all the more savage because it struck
defenseless people gathered in God’s house, which is a house of love and
reconciliation. I also express my affectionate closeness to the Christian
community, struck once again, and encourage the pastors and faithful to be
strong and steady in hope. In the face of the heinous episodes of violence that
continue tearing the populations of the Middle East to pieces, I renew my
grieved call for peace: it is the gift of God, but also the result of the
efforts of people of good will, of national and international institutions. May
everyone join their strengths to put an end to all violence! (Comments after
the Angelus, November 1, 2010).

Addressing all members of Communion and
Liberation, Fr. Julián Carrón said that “participation in Sunday Mass according
to the intentions of the Pope and the bishops is a gesture of real communion
and charity because we feel that the Christians of Iraq are our friends, even
if we do not know them directly

As Fr. Giussani said, “If the sacrifice is
accepting the circumstances of life, as they happen, because they make us
correspondent, participants in the death of Christ, then sacrifice becomes the
keystone of all life […] but also the keystone for understanding the history of
. The entire history of man depends on that man dead on the cross, and I can
influence the history of man – I can influence the people who live in Japan
now, the people in danger at sea now; I can intervene to help the pain of the
women who lose their children now, in this moment – if I accept the sacrifice
that this moment imposes.” (L. Giussani, Is It Possible to Live This Way? Book
3: Charity
, McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp. 74-75.)

Iraqi Christians Pray Rosary.jpg
For this reason, added
Carrón, “if a gesture of prayer can influence the change of people in Japan, it
can also change something in Iraq. May the sacrifice we make for the Christians
of Iraq and Sunday’s prayer be a gesture with which we invoke, implore from God
protection for them.”

The Communion & Liberation Press Office
Milan, Italy
November 18, 2010

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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