Tag Archives: ecclesial communities

Responding to the mystery of the living God as beggars of faith

A person with certitude in someone or something is going to propose that you consider making an inquiry into what is the cause of your certainty and hope. Naturally we will want to share with others and to deepen within ourselves a reality that blossoms as a beautiful new flower. The draw of that flower is no mere superficial thing: there is hope, beauty, expectation, communication, an essentiality that is unique. This is the role of the Pope who gives good example and daily tells us the cause of his joy and hope in being a friend of Jesus Christ. He encourages to look deeper into our faith in Christ and not to settle for less than what has been offered, that is, everything.

“Being Christian is not just obeying orders but means being in Christ, thinking like Him, acting like Him, loving like Him; it means letting Him take possession of our life and change it, transform it and free it from the darkness of evil and sin” (Pope Francis, General Audience, April 10, 2013).

The head of the ecclesial movement, Communion and Liberation, Father Julián Carrón reflects on what it means to be a Christian today with the help of the new pope in L’Osservatore Romano (18 May 2013), in “As Beggars of Faith.” It is a brief reflection on what he sees going on with Pope Francis leading the Church as he meets with the Church’s many ecclesial movements.

The text of Father Carrón’s reflection is here: JCarrón As Beggars of Faith.pdf

The Holy Spirit makes us sons and daughters of God

This weekend we are celebrating the Pentecost. The gift of the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus; the Spirit is what creates and sustains us. In 2006 Pope Benedict met with members of the ecclesial movements. What follows the points he made on the Holy Spirit that I thought would be good to meditate on today. Our study and prayer to and in the Spirit is not well known in the Church so I think this material appropriate for formation and evangelization. As part of the Year of Faith observances the ecclesial movements are meeting with Pope Francis today and tomorrow. Come, Holy Spirit!

Pentecost detail.jpg

The Holy Spirit, in giving life and freedom, also gives unity. These are three gifts that are inseparable from one another. I have already gone on too long; but let me say a brief word about unity.

To understand it, we might find a sentence useful which at first seems rather to distance us from it. Jesus said to Nicodemus, who came to him with his questions by night:  “The wind blows where it wills” (Jn 3: 8). But the Spirit’s will is not arbitrary. It is the will of truth and goodness. 

Therefore, he does not blow from anywhere, now from one place and then from another; his breath is not wasted but brings us together because the truth unites and love unites.

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The Church by the numbers 2013


On 13 May 2013, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, SDB, the Secretary of State and Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the assistant in the same office, presented the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae (the Church’s Statistical Yearbook) to Pope Francis and the rest of the Church.

This annual publication is official document outlining ever imaginable stat one would want to know, and more.

The statistical information in the Church Yearbook refers to the year 2011 which details the Catholic Church in the 2,979 ecclesiastical circumscriptions. That is, the dioceses and other administrations of the Church around the planet.

As already known, the Church is diminishing in Europe and growing in Asia and Africa.

General statistics:

  • From 2010 to 2011, the number of bishops increased from 5,104 to 5,132;
  • The steady increase in the number of priests which began in the year 2000 has continued. From 412,236 priests in 2010 to 413,418 in 2011;
  • The number of permanent deacons registered a strong increase: from 29,000 in 2001 to 41,000 in 2011;
  • Candidates for the priesthood, diocesan and religious, have increased since 2001 (112,244) by 7.5%. In 2011, there were 120,616 registered;
  • The number of Catholics in the world increased from 1.196 billion in 2010 to 1.214 billion in 2011, an increase of 18 million faithful.

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Pope Francis meets with ecumenical partners and representatives of world religions

The Pope met today with Orthodox leaders, Byzantine and Oriental Orthodox, the Anglicans, other ecclesial communities and leaders of various other religions. Of particular interest is the personal meeting of Francis and Bartholomew; the Pope also met with Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Rome Reports has a review of this important ecumenical meeting.

Francis and Bartholomew March 20 2013.jpg

First of all, heartfelt thanks for what my Brother Andrew told us. Thank you so much! Thank you so much!

It is a source of particular joy to meet you today, delegates of the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and Ecclesial Communities of the West. Thank you for wanting to take part in the celebration that marked the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter.

Yesterday morning, during the Mass, through you , I recognized the communities you represent. In this manifestation of faith, I had the feeling of taking part in an even more urgent fashion the prayer for the unity of all believers in Christ, and together to see somehow prefigured the full realization of full unity which depends on God’s plan and on our own loyal collaboration.

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Chaput says Catholic life needs to be reignited; American culture is a new kind of mission territory

Philadelphia archbishop and Capuchin friar Charles J. Chaput writes well about the sobering reality of evangelization in his weekly column for this week. (Get in the habit of reading the Archbishop’s weekly essay.) The content of His Excellency’s essay “The new communities and the ‘New Evangelization‘” has “three simple things today: first, I’ll share some observations on the general state of the Church; second, I’ll talk about the role of new communities and charisms like the Sodalitium in the new evangelization; and third, I’ll offer some thoughts to this group as a brother in consecrated life, based on my own experience as a Capuchin and a bishop. I have a fourth point to mention as well; but it’s really more of a story. I’ll come back to it at the end of my remarks.”

Among the remarks of the archbishop’s are those he talks about the new communities, sometimes called the ecclesial communities. Each group has it’s own gift to give to the life of the Church. Each community answers a need and helps a person to be faithful to the Gospel in a new, vital way: a manner of really living the Good News and recognizing the grace of God right now.

Real Christian discipleship rejects and resists the kind of radical personal license and acquisitiveness that animates a consumerist society.  So when the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of the unborn child, the purpose of human sexuality, economic and immigration justice, the rights of religious communities and believers, and the

nature of marriage and the family – she’s not just “unpopular.”  She’s hated as the enemy of individual privacy and personal freedom.  And that theme shapes the way the Church is treated in the mass media.

For Catholics in my country to recover their vocation as a Church, they need to be awakened; they need a reason to be zealous again about their faith.  They need to hear the witness of people like yourselves who live the Catholic faith with confidence and joy.  They need to see their Church growing and fruitful, and young again, instead of constantly retreating and in decline.

This is the value of the new ecclesial communities and movements.  They’re alive in Jesus Christ, and their new life and energy spill out into the whole Church.

For those of us who follow/live within the ambit of an ecclesial community whose founder is dead, what we compromise on? What will sacrifice to fit into the culture at large? Will we lose touch with the reasons that was the impulse of the founding of our community? Answer: may be; but I hope not.

Read the essay –it won’t take you long.

Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us.

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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