Tag Archives: Communion and 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.

Saint Benedict, the man of blessing

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Today is the Feast of Saint Benedict! It was originally the feast of the translation of his relics, but after Monte Cassino was bombed they discovered that his relics were evidently never translated! Pope Paul changed it to the feast of Saint Benedict Patron of Europe. One of the most sensible things he ever did.

The perduring gift to the Church is the Rule of Saint Benedict. It is a beautiful compilation of how to live together seeking the face of God. One part on humility is worth noting. Benedict’s teaching on humility is here.

Father Giussani points out about life in Communion and Liberation:

“Now, we must also say that to live communion is not a small matter; it is all of Christian life, because Christian life is Christ among us who makes us one sole body. And this, I believe, is the heart of the original Benedictine tradition, with which our Movement felt itself to coincide from the beginning. The heart of our Movement is this, and I really believe that it is being disciples of the original Benedictine history that has made our Movement like this. Therefore, it is no small matter; it is the example that has to happen.”

A short review of the importance of Saint Benedict and Benedictines in the life of Communion and Liberation is here.

Blessed feast of Saint Benedict.


Windows into Heaven –Knights of Columbus Museum exhibits Russian icons

I am always looking for the way heaven touches earth. Perhaps you are, too. The image that comes to mind is the finger of God touching that of Adam in a painting done by Michelangelo. I also recall that the Incarnation is a manifestation of the beauty of heaven touching the ordinariness of earth and making our existence forever beautiful. These are some thoughts on an experience of “Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons and Treasures” at the Knights of Columbus Museum (New Haven, CT). Though the icons aren’t in their original liturgical context, they nonetheless open the heart and mind onto something and someone beautiful. The icons, for me, are more than nice pieces of Christian art; they truly are positions of grace that allow my desires to be opened anew by an experience with the Divine Majesty. There is an emphasis here on the personal relationship we have with the Trinity. To say otherwise is to neglect a piece of your humanity because the beauty of the icon does invite us to a different way of living the faith.

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I was just reading an address of Cardinal Ratzinger on beauty. An amazing act of the Spirit to allow me to see the icons and then reflect with Ratzinger on the experience. He had addressed the annual meeting organized by members of Communion and Liberation in August 2002. A paragraph sticks out:

To admire the icons and the great masterpieces of Christian art in general, leads us on an inner way, a way of overcoming ourselves; thus in this purification of vision that is a purification of the heart, it reveals the beautiful to us, or at least a ray of it. In this way we are brought into contact with the power of the truth. I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth against every denial, are the saints, and the beauty that the faith has generated. Today, for faith to grow, we must lead ourselves and the persons we meet to encounter the saints and to enter into contact with the Beautiful.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

“The Feeling of Things, the Contemplation of Beauty”

Rimini Meeting 2002

Take the time this summer to visit the KofC Museum and be inspired! Allow yourself to be wounded by beauty, as Ratzinger said.

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


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.

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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