Organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization
Rome, Sept 18-19-20
This morning we began with community prayer led by Mons Fisichella to the strains of the Taizé “Magnificat” by a small choir and a guitarist.
We had more excellent talks on specific points of the content of Evangelii gaudium: announcing the kerygma, catechesis and homilies. The topic of “homilies” was addressed by Bishop Augustine Di Noia, an American Dominican bishop. I was not expecting that talk to be very pertinent to us as lay people, but it was actually very interesting and a lot if its content could be applied to any of us who prepare talks or direct retreats. (European congresses, by the way, tend to be theoretical, so the American speakers are always a breath of fresh air, not mention easier to understand since they deliver in English!)
Questions were gathered form participants on sheets of paper and then answered briefly by some of the experts and speakers present. That was a highlight for me, as they were given only three or four minutes to speak and went right to the heart of the issues with very practical solutions to the pastoral problems presented.
A pair of young people from France shared about their experience as secretaries of the “Youth Synod” held this past year in their diocese. I had not so much as heard of that as a possibility for a diocese! A few pastoral agents present took that idea back home with them. The young people shared that the main conclusion of their Synod was that the youth do not want to form a parallel Church (thank the Lord!) but want to become more involved in the evangelizing mission of the Church and to be given more space to participate and act.
The final talk was an extraordinary analysis of our present-day Catholic culture and the great gift that “incarnational humanism” can be for our evangelizing task. Most American Catholics today are greatly influenced by Calvinistic Christianity, and they do not recognize it as such but rather believe that that is what the Church proposes and believes. The “sacramental” vision of Christianity is the Catholic Church’s “secret” so to speak, and there is a lot to be done to help Catholics in the United States understand its underlying principles. Without it, many of the hairy issues such as heterosexual marriage and the priesthood’s being reserved to men, do not make sense. That is way beyond the scope of this blog, but we were told the talks (or a summary of them) would be published soon on the following website: http://www.novaevangelizatio.va/content/nvev/en/eventi/Incontro-evangelii-gaudium.html
I wish more Regnum Christi members could have been able to attend this meeting. One of the beautiful aspects of the content of today’s talks was the frequent reference that was made to the importance of laypeople’s mission in the Church. As we continue down our path of renewal, I pray especially for our lay members of the Movement, whose specific vocation I believe is key to understanding the nature and mission of Regnum Christi as a whole.