Tag Archives: Luigi Giussani

A new Vatican office: Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization?

Writing for il Giornale.it today, veteran vaticanista Andrea Tornielli, speaks of a new pontifical council to be created specifically for the work of the new evangelization, a term coined by Pope John Paul II in 1979 while visiting the Poland’s Nowa Huta. Pope Benedict is expected to release an Apostolic Letter soon. The idea comes to fruition because of the diligence of Venice’s cardinal-archbishop, Angelo Scola, and Josef Cordes and the inspiration of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, founder of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. A new council with this work is seen as keenly central to the work of Benedict’s papacy. The first head of the new council is expected to be according to Tornielli, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the current head of the Pontifical Academy of Life and the rector of the Lateran University.

Andrea Tornielli’s article is here.

Aroused by the presence of Christ

conversion (and let me echo the words of St Augustine used speaking about his
own conversion) is simply the passage from his dedication to God to recognition
of what God has done and does in Jesus.

Augustine describes his conversion
thus: “When I read the apostle Paul [and immediately afterwards -because it is
not enough to the Scriptures–he adds:] and when Your hand healed the sadness of
my heart, then I understood the difference inter praesumptionem et confessionem
/ between dedication and recognition.” Praesumptio does not indicate a bad
thing. In the long term it decays into bad presumption, but initially it
indicates a person’s attempt to achieve the good ideal intuited. Christian
conversion is the passage from this attempt to do good (good works, said Pope
Benedict) to the simple recognition of the presence of Jesus
. From praesumptio,
dedication, to confessio, recognition. The confessio, recognition, is like when
the child says, ‘Mamma.” As when the mother comes towards the child and it
says, ‘Mamma.”

Christian conversion, for Augustine and Paul, is (let me use the
image of Don Giussani’s that, in my opinion, has no equivalent) the transition
from the enthusiasm of dedication to the enthusiasm of beauty; from the
enthusiasm of one’s own dedication, which in itself is good, to the enthusiasm
aroused by a presence that attracts the heart, a presence which gratuitously
comes forward and gratuitously makes itself recognized. Paul had done nothing
to meet Him. His gratuitous coming forwards accomplishes the transition from
our dedication to the beauty of His presence that makes itself recognized
through attraction. And between recognition and dedication there is no
contradiction. Giussani says simply that “enthusiasm of dedication is
incomparable with the enthusiasm of beauty.” It is the same term St Augustine
uses when he describes the relationship between the virtue of men and the first
steps of those who put their hope in the grace and mercy of God.

We might also
say that when by grace a person happens to live the same experience that Paul
went through, his same experience, in the infinite remove from him, it is as if
all the Christian words, the word of faith, the word salvation, the word
Church, were transparent of the initiative of Jesus Christ. It is He who stirs
, Faith is His working. It is He who saves. Bestowing salvation is His
initiative. It is He who builds His Church. “Aedifcabo ecclesiam meam” (Mt
16:18). Aedificabo is a future tense [verb]: “I will build my Church” on the
profession of faith of Peter, on the grace of faith given to Peter (cf. Mt
16:18). It is He who builds personally, in the present, His Church on a gift of

Giussani was speaking to a group of young people. At a certain point he
asked: “What puts us in relationship with Jesus Christ? What, now, puts us in
relationship with Jesus Christ?” People said: “The Church,” “The community,”
“Our friendship,” and so on. At the end of all the suggestions, Giussani
repeated the question: “What puts us in relationship with Jesus Christ?” And
then gave the answer himself: “The fact that He is risen.” Because were He not
risen, were He not alive, the Church would be a merely human institution, like
so many others. One burden more. All things merely human in the become a
burden. The Church is the visible term of the gesture of the living Jesus who
meets the heart and attracts it.

Don Giacomo Tartandini, 30 Days, no. 6/7 2009

Luigi Giussani, led by Christ –recalls Archbishop Prendergast for Communion & Liberation-Canada

Around the world in past 2 weeks Communion and Liberation’s Schools of Community have been praying for the good of Communion and Liberation while remembering the fifth anniversary of death of Monsignor Luigi Giussani. In the Archdiocese of Ottawa last Monday (February 22) Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ celebrated Mass for CL-Ottawa and here is a portion of his homily. One of the touching points in His Grace’s homily is the phrase, “to follow Christ.” The same phrase I used for my coat of arms; see above.

Five years ago today, Don Luigi Giussani, the founder of a movement that came to be known as Communion and Liberation was called home to God by the Lord Jesus Christ. Cardinal Ratzinger, our present pope was sent by Pope John Paul II as his legate to the funeral ceremony in Milan. On that occasion, he testified to the way in which Don Giussani had allowed himself to be led by Christ in a loving relationship from his earliest years, just as Peter had from the moment of his first encounter with Jesus: “This love affair with Christ, this love story which is the whole of his life, was however far from every superficial enthusiasm, from every vague romanticism. Really seeing Christ, he knew that to encounter Christ means to follow Christ. This encounter is a road, a journey, a journey that passes also-as we heard in the psalm-through the ‘valley of darkness.’ In the Gospel, we heard of the last darkness of Christ’s suffering, of the apparent absence of God, when the world’s Sun was eclipsed. He knew that to follow is to pass through a ‘valley of darkness,’ to take the way of the cross, and to live all
the same in true joy.”

St. Francis Xavier expressed this in a lovely poem, “O Deus, Ego Amo Te,” translated touchingly by his brother Jesuit, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins:

O GOD, I love thee, I love thee-
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.

Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails, and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,

Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:

Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven’s sake;
not to be out of hell by loving thee;

Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?

For being my king and God. Amen.

Luigi Giussani: the 5th anniversary of death

LGiussani and Rose.jpgFive years ago today Monsignor Luigi Giussani died after suffering the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. I continue to miss his voice and witness to faith we profess in Christ.

O God, the Lord of mercies, grant to the soul of Thy servant Luigi Giussani, priest, whose anniversary we are keeping, a place of refreshment, rest and happiness and the glory of Thy Light.
Pope John Paul IIs personal letter on man and work of Luigi Giussani.
Here is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s homily for Monsignor Giussani on February 24, 2005.

Archbishop Dolan prays for Giussani, thanks Communion & Liberation, gives us the logic of Lent

Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of death of the great priest and founder of Communion & Liberation, Monsignor Luigi Giussani. More on that later. However, the NY community of Communion & Liberation gathered at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for the Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated by the Archbishop, Timothy M. Dolan. Among those in the sanctuary were Bishop William McCormack (retired auxiliary bishop of NY celebrating 51 years a priest today) and Bishop Gerald Walsh (NY auxiliary bishop and rector of Saint Joseph’s Seminary), Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, Carmelite Father Eugene and Father Daniel O’Reilly with the seminarians from Dunwoodie and the collegians from St John Neumann Seminary Residence.

A few times in the course of the Mass and following, Dolan expressed his gratitude for the presence and witness of Communion and Liberation in the Archdiocese of NY. Today’s Mass joins many others around the USA and in others parts of the world praying for Giussani and for the good of the movement. See where Mass is being offered here.

Jesus is tempted.jpg

In his homily, Archbishop Dolan reminded us of the deadly sins that cut us off from God, the Church community, others and ourselves. The gospel for today (Lk 4) is a stark reminder is that the Lord was tempted, but didn’t capitulate to the temptations demonstrating a supreme trust in His Father. This he did by speaking of the Logic of Lent: the pilgrimage during the season of Lent is a movement away from sin and sinful tendencies inching toward life with the Trinity, the living God. In order for us to live holiness of life we need to live as those Christ matters, as though the truth the Church teaches does, in fact, set us free. We are made for communion, interpersonal relationships first with God and then with each other; selfishness and pride divides us. Ultimately, we have to take seriously the Scriptural warrants for life with God: purity of heart, humility of personality. The Christian life is not “my will be done,” but it’s the other way around, “Thy will be done, God.’
How do we decapitate sin? How do we live more intently this time of faith in Christ?
The 3 ancient Christian practices:
1. Prayer: the posture is the recollection that without God nothing is possible
2. Penance: self-denial to curb the human drive to disordered pleasures
3. Charity: mercy and self-gift as acts of love to live in a dignified way as God wants us to live.
When we do our part in self-emptying ourselves of sinful tendencies, God does His part in giving us what we need: true and lasting happiness.
The proffered the hope that Msgr. Luigi Giussani would be made a Doctor of the Church. I hope the Archbishop’s words were heard in heaven!
A 12th century anthem was sung at the Preparation of the Altar at Mass, “Ave Regina Caelorum,” musically arranged by Gregor Aichinger. Typically this hymn is sung after Compline from the feast of the Presentation of the Lord until Holy Thursday. A version of the text in English follows:
Hail, Queen of Heaven!
Hail, Mistress of Angels!
Hail, root, hail portal,
From which the Light for the world has Risen.
Rejoice, glorious Virgin,
Beautiful above all others.
Farewell, most gracious,
And pray for us to Christ.
A fitting reminder of the beauty of Mary, Mother of God and her role as intercessor for us before her son, Jesus. May she also intercede for Msgr. Luigi Giussani and for Communion and Liberation.

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.
coat of arms



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