PASTORAL YEAR 2019-2020
JOURNEYING MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
In his speech to the Diocese of Rome, that is how Pope Francis urges the faithful: “Under the cry of so many people there is nothing but a genuine groan of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that once again moves not to be satisfied, to try to set back on the road” (Saint John in Laterano Basilica, Thursday, 9 May 2019). In obedience to the voice of the Holy Father, letting ourselves be guided by the Gospel of the Day of the Lord, we will imitate Jesus. He is full of the Holy Spirit. Every day, he grows in grace and wisdom. He listens to the hearts and gives them answers according to the will of the Father.
In the Gospel according to John it is said: “He whom God has sent says the words of God: he gives the Spirit without measure” (Jn 3:34). The evangelizing mission of every adhering member of the Apostolic Movement cannot disregard these two essential modalities that are of Christ the Lord: “Saying the Word of God and giving the Spirit without measure”. It is useless to say the Word of God, if the Spirit without measure is not given. The Word produces no fruit. But also the Spirit might never be given without measure, if the Word of God does not transform our life, conforming it to the life of Christ Jesus.
As the Lord Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, receives the Word from the Father, so the adhering member of the Apostolic Movement, in the Holy Spirit, will receive the Word from the Church. Without this supreme act of humility there is no mission for the gift of the Word. But without the other act of full obedience to the Word received, neither might there be a mission of salvation. Without obedience no one might give the Holy Spirit. Our obedience to the Word reveals the measure of the Spirit that is in us. If obedience is without measure, even the Spirit of God will be in us without measure.
Humility in receiving and obedience in transforming the Word into our lives, are the conditions for our mission to be able to produce fruits of salvation in the world. Without these two fundamental, essential and necessary virtues, there is no ecclesial mission. We are without the Word. We are lacking in the Holy Spirit. The one who must always set us back to the road is the Spirit that is in the personal heart, but it is also the Spirit that is in the hearts of our brothers that together with us carry out the same mission. The stronger in Spirit, grace and wisdom, must take the one who is weaker by the hand.
This communion in the Holy Spirit is essential to our mission. That is how the hagiographer of the Letter to the Hebrews urges the disciples of Jesus: “Watch, brothers, that you will not find in any of you a perverse heart and without faith that moves away from the living God. Rather exhort each other every day, as long as this day lasts, so that none of you may insist on being seduced by sin. Therefore, reassure your inert hands and weak knees and walk straight with your feet, so that the limping foot does not have to cripple, but rather to heal”. This is true communion in the Spirit of God.
And again: “Seek peace and sanctification with all, without which no one will ever see the Lord; beware that no one is deprived of the grace of God” (Heb 3: 12-13; 12,12-15). Communion will always produce few fruits, if every single person does not put his hand to the construction of his spiritual building, bringing it to full conformation to Christ the Lord. For this reason the adherent of the Apostolic Movement is called to a perennial contemplation of Jesus Crucified. He is the source of all our thoughts, desires and will. Jesus Crucified must be our heart and our soul.
Contemplating Christ Crucified, running towards Him, in order to reach him, is the end of our life. With Saint Paul: “I only know this: forgetting what is behind me and reaching out for what lies before me, I run towards the goal, to the reward that God calls us to receive up there, in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13 -14). Paul’s program is our program. Only by realizing it can we help the world to realize it. This means for us reminding the Word: showing the world all its divine possibilities to transform every life. It is a modality of essence for the entire Apostolic Movement.
In his Gospel, the Apostle John shows us Christ in the three essential moments: of promise, of fruitfulness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. At the well of Jacob he promises the water of life to the woman of Samaria. On Golgotha, from the cross, from his pierced body, he makes water and blood pour out. In the Cenacle, on the evening of the resurrection, he breaths him on the Apostles. There are three fundamental moments, also necessary for every adherent of the Apostolic Movement: promise, fruitfulness and gift of the Spirit of God. Everything happens in the Holy Spirit given by us to every heart.
THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The words of Jesus to the Woman of Samaria reveal two truths concerning the Holy Spirit, which must never be forgotten by the Christian. The Spirit of God is given by Christ the Lord. It is the Spirit of his body given to form his body. The one who receives him becomes in turn a source that wells up with the Spirit of life. If the one who receives him does not become a source for others, he attests that the Spirit was extinguished by him. He was not revived, strengthened and made to become a river of conversion and salvation for his brothers. The salvation of the world is in this becoming of ours source of the Holy Spirit of God.
The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (The woman) said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn 4,9-14). How does the Spirit become a spring of water that wells up for eternal life? Through our perfect obedience to the Word of Jesus. We hear the Word, in the Spirit. In the Spirit we obey and abide in it. The Spirit grows in us and we become a river to quench the thirst and give life to the world.
The evangelizing force of the adhering member of the Apostolic Movement is in his obedience to the Word. The more he grows in obedience, the more his evangelizing strength will increase, because the measure of the Spirit will increase. In a secularized world, given over to profanity, consumed by anti-evangelical worldliness, without any reference to the Word, this discourse could appear out of time. Vanity by now rules hearts. Modernity does not suit the Gospel. The temptation is to adapt to the world. The Apostolic Movement is asked to adapt itself to the Spirit of God.
BLOOD AND WATER CAME OUT OF IT
Jesus did not adapt to the world. He also asked the Father to help the disciples so that this adaptation never takes place in them: “I do not pray that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, as I am not of the world” (Jn 17: 15-16). The remaining of Jesus always in the will of the Father has meant that from his heart the river of life gushed out. The obedience of Jesus to the Father was boundless and the river of life that comes out of his torn side is boundless. Where this river reaches, everything comes back to life, everything bears fruit.
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, for the Sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” And again another passage says: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19,31-37). Today, who has to carry this water of eternal life is the disciple of Jesus. The river might and must flow from his heart. He draws the Word from Christ the Lord, receives the Holy Spirit, through the sacramental and ministerial action of the Church, obeys the Word and becomes a river.
The Spirit is received by the purest grace of the Lord our God. The Spirit that one receives serves us so that we live the whole Word of the Gospel. As we obey, we ripen a fruit of the Holy Spirit to give to the brothers for their conversion to Christ Jesus. In true conversion we approach the Church and receive the Spirit through the sacramental way. It is the Spirit who must work in us the perfect conformation to Jesus Crucified. Each sacrament gives a special conformation. Each sacrament will be lived well if the conformation to Christ is reached.
The adhering member of the Apostolic Movement must nurture a particular devotion for the Eucharist. Our Inspirer and founder, Mrs. Maria Marino taught us this: “Blessed Eucharist, the only desire that fills and gives peace to the heart, the only Source that quenches the soul, the only Body that nourishes and supports pilgrims towards Kingdom, the only Blood that gives the joy of living for You, my Jesus. The Eucharist is everything and everything is in it. Who loves it, loves God, himself and his brothers according to truth.
Who receives it with faith conforms his being to the being of Christ Jesus; who lives it with passion and love, makes his life a passion of love and a sacrifice of salvation for the whole world. How much I desire You, love You and adore You blessed Eucharist. By satiating myself with You, my whole being is satiated. With You in my heart, I don’t look for anything anymore. I have everything, because I have you, that are my everything. If the world fully perceived Your mystery, if it understood the greatness of so much a gift, if it loved this living Bread descended from Heaven, life would become a Paradise on earth”. Nothing more must be added.
RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
It is necessary that a distinction is made. First the Spirit of conversion is poured out. This effusion must be operated by every disciple of Jesus. Without this outpouring, the Spirit that is received in the sacraments, that is the Spirit of the configuration to Christ Crucified, might not produce any fruit. He is given, he creates the son of God, the witness of Christ, the Shepherd and the Head of the flock, the giver of the Holy Spirit through the sacramental way, but the new creature might not bear fruit because it is not converted to Christ Jesus. It is essential that the Spirit of conversion is given.
In order for the disciple of the Lord to give the Spirit of conversion, his full conformation to Christ in his life and in his death is necessary. This conformation is accomplished through our abiding in the Word. We speak, we think, we desire, we want and we judge everything from the Word. This is the Christian mission: thinking according to the thought of Christ, seeing with his eyes and speaking with his heart. The mission of the disciple of Jesus is very high. He must bring converted souls to Christ in the house of God so that the ministers may conform them to Christ, their Lord.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20,19-23).
First Jesus converted the apostles to his Gospel, to the Truth, to the knowledge of his mystery and then he gave the Spirit of conformation to him, the Apostle of the Father, so that they might be his ministers. As ministers of Christ they can accomplish all the works of Christ, beginning with the forgiveness of sins. Each adhering member of the Apostolic Movement is called to pour out the Spirit of conversion on the world. Then, he has the obligation to lead every converted person to the house of the Father, so that the ministers of Christ accomplish what is still lacking in their mission. Leading to the Church is the essence of their work.
The lay mission that stopped at the laity, without adding to it the priestly mission, would be nonsense. The Spirit of conversion is useless, without the Spirit of the sacramental conformation to Jesus Crucified. But a lay person who does not bring into the Church of God attests that he is not yet conformed to Christ. He lives on the edge of the truth of salvation. The Spirit of conversion and the Spirit of conformation to Christ Jesus must live in perfect communion. Never make of them two distinct and separate realities, each acting for itself. The Spirit is one and must be lived in unity.
THE MOMENT YOUR GREETING REACHED MY EARS
The Virgin Mary is full of grace and of the Holy Spirit. She is the Mother of the Church. It means that both lay faithful and ministers of the Word, Pastors and Heads of the flock of Christ, must find in Her the perfect image to which they can always be inspired. Mary is sent by the Spirit. The Spirit that is in Her drives her towards the house of Zechariah. Here is our first truth. No one might be driven by the Spirit, if he is not full of grace. Grace and Spirit must live together in the disciple of Jesus. If grace is lacking, man becomes a boulder. He cannot be either driven or led.
But even if the Spirit is lacking, grace is of little use. It lacks the strength that transforms the Christian into an agent of the Spirit. Growing in grace and in the Holy Spirit is an obligation for every disciple of Jesus. Jesus grew in grace and wisdom. Even the disciple must grow in grace and wisdom. This can only happen in full obedience to the Word of the Gospel. Our growth must be without interruption. The strength of the mission is in proportion to growth. Little one grows and little he is a missionary. We do not grow at all and we are not missionaries at all.
During those days Mary set out and travelled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk 1,39-45).
What is accomplished through Mary must be accomplished throughout the entire body of Christ. Each member of the Lord’s body must add what is missing to the other. Only in the fullness of the communion of the body can the mission of salvation be accomplished. Mary carries the Spirit of prophecy. She still cannot bring the Spirit of conformation to the Crucified Christ, because Jesus is not dead and has not risen yet. Elizabeth and the child she carries in her womb are filled with the Spirit of the prophecy and knowledge of the mystery. It is this Spirit the one that gives Elizabeth the knowledge of the mystery of Mary and also of the mystery of the Son that she carries in her womb.
The mystery of Christ, of the Father, of the Holy Spirit, of the Church and of the Christian can be known only in the Spirit of God. The mystery of the Apostolic Movement also can be known only in the Spirit. Those who still do not know the mystery of the Movement, even though they are adherents of the Movement, attest that they are not in the Spirit of prophecy and truth. But they also reveal that we have not given them the Spirit of prophecy and truth. The mystery that hangs over us is great. Without the knowledge of the truth of our mystery, we cannot achieve it either in ourselves or in others.
When we lose our personal mystery, we are like soulless bodies. We can give the body any shape we desire, but it is soulless. An Apostolic Movement devoid of its mystery, of its truth, lacking the purpose for which it was wanted by Heaven, serves for nothing. The one who must give daily knowledge of the mystery is the Spirit of God. Every adherent must be the one to give the Spirit to every other adherent. Everything is from the understanding and the truth that we are each called to realize in our lives, helping every other person so that he too can realize it. The Spirit of prophecy and truth is urgent.
che è cosa assai utile rispettare, dove si può, la forma della nostra catechesi.
THEME OF CATECHESIS
The purpose of catechesis is to know, through the Spirit of prophecy and truth, the mystery of Christ, in the mystery of the Church, from which our mystery of the Apostolic Movement is. In this year of grace of the Lord 2019-2020, we will reflect and meditate on the theme, taken from the address of the Holy Father to the Diocese of Rome: JOURNEYING MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. We will use the Sunday Gospel, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Documents of the Pope and the Bishops. We remind that it is very useful to respect, where it is possible, the form of our catechesis.
Whoever imparts the Catechesis, has full freedom to use every other doctrinal help he will deem necessary. For the Dioceses, in which the respective Pastors have offered particular themes to be treated, it is our obligation to abide by them and for this reason catechesis must be imparted on those pastoral lines. It is up to the Central Council to urge both diocesan and parish responsible adherents so that they are a stimulus and example of assiduous attendance to adherents both of doctrinal and spiritual training. When we do not grow in truth, light and doctrine, we run the risk of frustrating the mission.
The mystery of the Apostolic Movement must always be revived in the hearts of all the adherents. This is why in every Diocese there are also moments of formation in the spirituality of the Apostolic Movement. Catechesis illuminates minds about the mystery of Christ Jesus, which is universal. Spirituality must help every member of the Apostolic Movement to be the one to realize his own conformation to Christ Crucified, in conformity with the gifts of grace and the Holy Spirit of his heart. Without spirituality, catechesis lacks in an essential part of life. Where there is no spiritual formation, the charisma dies.
FRAGMENTS OF OUR HISTORY
The memory of the history lived by the Apostolic Movement up to the present must work in us two fruits: blessing and thanking God for what with his grace, wisdom, intelligence and strength in the Spirit, has been operated. But also the will to ask the Lord for every power of truth and grace, so that we can respond to his expectations to be fulfilled today and not tomorrow. A third fruit is asking forgiveness for what we have failed to do and also for the delay in the work of our conformation to Christ Jesus. Every delay resulting in serious omissions is guilty.
All this must give birth in our hearts to the desire, the will and the conviction that it is necessary to take to the road moved by the Spirit, with a greater zeal. Nothing in life is more dangerous than stagnation, sloth and insensitivity. One falls into a body paralysis, into the arthritis of the soul and rushes into the drowsiness of all his heart. For this reason it is urgent, day by day, to reawaken the conscience so that it may listen to the Spirit of God, listening to the Church, and bring to completion the mystery that the Lord has written for every adherent of the Apostolic Movement.
– Ten Ecclesial Conventions of the Apostolic Movement have been celebrated so far. The last two (2017 and 2018), both held at the PalaGiovino in Catanzaro, focused their attention on young people, in view and following the Youth Synod. The 2018 convention (“I listen to you. The young protagonists in the Church and in society”), introduced by the local archbishop of the place H.E. Monsignor Vincenzo Bertolone, had H.E. Msgr. Domenico Battaglia, bishop of Cerreto S. – Telese – S. Agata dei Goti, and prof. Antonio Cerasa, a neuroscientist. The 2017 meeting (“The Church listens to and accompanies young people in the changing era”) has seen the speeches of His Eminence Card. Lorenzo Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, of H.E. Monsignor Vincenzo Bertolone and the Republic Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri. The previous conventions have been concluded by: H.Em. Card. Angelo Scola, then Patriarch of Venice (Catanzaro, 2006); H.E. Card. Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna (Catanzaro, 2007), H. Em. Card. Mauro Piacenza, Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy (Catanzaro, 2008); H.E. Msgr. Giuseppe Marciante, auxiliary bishop of Rome (Rome, 2009); H.E. Msgr. Mario Toso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (Rome, 2010); Msgr. Miguel Delgado Galindo, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (Catanzaro, 2012); H.E. Msgr. Filippo Santoro, Archbishop of Taranto and President of the CEI Commission for Social Problems and Work, Justice and Peace (Rome, 2015), H.E. Msgr. Nunzio Galantino, Secretary General of the CEI (Rome, 2016). Each edition benefited from the intervention of the Archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace pro-tempore, respectively H.E. Msgr. Antonio Ciliberti and H.E. Msgr. Vincenzo Bertolone. The archbishops of the Calabria region have also intervened over the years. Msgr. Vittorio Mondello, H.E. Msgr. Santo Marcianò, H.E. Msgr. Salvatore Nunnari. A special remembrance brings us back to the occasions when the Holy Father, at the end of General Audiences, greeted “the participants in the Convention of the Apostolic Movement”: thus H.H. Francis on 05.55.2015 and 20.4.2016, and previously H.H. Benedict XVI, 11.24.2010 (“I cordially welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the participants at the convention promoted by the Apostolic Movement and I urge them to continue along the path of personal holiness, the starting point of all evangelization”).
– To be added also the Meeting for the 35th anniversary of the Apostolic Movement, held on 12/30/2014, at the Palasport Poli-Giovino in Catanzaro, on the theme “To spread the Gospel of joy”. The appointment, wanted by the President, saw the presence of the Archbishop Msgr. V. Bertolone, of the Archbishops emeritus Msgr. A. Cantisani and Msgr. V. Rimedio, of civil institutions, delegations from all over Italy and a large number of festive and joyful audience. We should also mention the conventions and meetings of the Apostolic Movement held over the years for the adhering members of the Northern Italy and Switzerland areas.
– In the Secular Institute “Mary Mother of the Redemption”, over the years, the number of consecrated women has increased considerably. At the beginning of each pastoral year, presiding at the Eucharistic celebration in the Mary Mother of the Church parish in Catanzaro, the archbishop H.E. Msgr. Bertolone accepts the vows of the new consecrated women, the ones who renew their vows during the first five years of profession and those who reach perpetual profession. After the celebration of 1 October 2018, there are 58 consecrated women. Every first Thursday of the month they offer all the faithful a Eucharistic adoration animated in the parish of Mary Mother of the Church in Catanzaro.
– The commitment of the Apostolic Movement in the service of charity, which is expressed above all in the ordinariness of the often hidden mission carried out in parishes and in the daily environments of life, continued in an intense and constant way: various adherents have lent their work in the soup kitchens for the poor, in visits to the sick at home, in clinics, in hospitals, in nursing homes and in residences for the elderly, in school assistance to disadvantaged minors, in distance adoptions and with signs of solidarity for the affected earthquake areas. To coordinate the service in some of these sectors, some voluntary groups have been organized in a systematic way, which this year have grown considerably. Some signs of this service are the support of the Movement to the diocesan family home of Befotaka in Madagascar, to the charitable initiatives of the diocese of Khammam (India) and to some Douala students (Cameroon). Other initiatives of support and fraternal charity have been organized in the last year in favour of particular needs reported to us by the mission lands.
– In 2018-19, the appointments led by Father Domenico Concolino in the Montecorvino rectory: the “Montecorvino Lectures 2018”, the ‘Il Verbum e la City “program, the series of meetings on “Passio Christi. The Christian path of obedience”. The annual path ended June 7, 2019 with a “Montecorvino talk” entitled “The Word, the Silence, the Spirit, the Church. The Christian way of meeting God” were added to the extensive program of educational and cultural meetings that the Apostolic Movement undertook at the invitation of the Archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace on topics of urgent social and ethical impact.
– Among the publications edited by theologians who live the spirituality of the Apostolic Movement, the following titles have been added in the years 2017-2019: fr Gesualdo De Luca (edited by), The family witness of the joy of love. Reflections and comments on the Amoris Laetitia of Pope Francis, Editorial Project 2000, Cosenza 2017; fr Nicola Rotundo (edited by), “Theologians in concert. Writings in honour of Monsignor Costantino di Bruno in his 70th birthday”, Cittadella, Assisi 2017; fr Francesco Brancaccio, “La laïcité, une notion chrétienne”, Éd. du Cerf, Paris 2017; fr Giuseppe Comi, The faith of Jesus, Cittadella, Assisi 2017; fr Francesco Cristofaro, My yes to the Lord. Testimonies of priestly life, Ed. Tau, Todi 2017; fr Flavio Placida, “Go and tell the Gospel of God to everyone”, Ed. IF Press, Rome 2017; fr Emmanuele Rotundo, The kenosis of Unus de Trinitate. A proposal of kenotic christology, Cittadella, Assisi 2017; fr Nicola Rotundo, Between globalization and new economy: what place for solidarity?, St. Anthony Editions, Saarbrücken 2017; fr Nicola Rotundo, Bernard Lonergan and the economy. Economic profiles of moral and social life, Rubbettino Editore, Soveria Mannelli 2017; donfr Lucio Bellantoni, In wisdom, age and grace. Itinerary for a harmonious growth in holiness, Amazon Publishing 2018; fr Gregorio Nicola Corea, the man deified in Christ. A divine project and human commitment in the Cappadoce mosaic, Cittadella, Assisi 2018; fr Francesco Cristofaro, My yes to the Lord. Testimonies of faith and life, Tau editrice, Todi 2018; fr Andrea Ganci, The question of the consecration of the faithful in Ecclesial Movements. Current status and future prospects, EDUSC, Rome 2018; fr Nicola Rotundo, Common good between universal ethics and social morality, Editoriale Progetto 2000, Cosenza 2018 (presented at a convention on 19 October 2018, at the Auditorium Seminary St. Pio X in Catanzaro); fr Francesco Cristofaro, Lord I pray to you with my heart. Personal prayer itinerary, ed. Tau, Todi 2019; fr Edoardo Palma, From the “animal” man to the “spiritual” man (Orizzonti Biblici, new series), Cittadella, Assisi 2019; fr Emmanuele Rotundo, Eucharist, Mystery of the Faith. Presence and sacrifice in a Christological perspective, Cantagalli Ed., Siena 2019; fr Nicola Rotundo, The habit of freedom: the theological virtues, Cantagalli Ed., Siena 2019. Let also the volume by fr Alessandro Carioti be added, Being rediscovered a mother, Tau ed., Todi 2018, a novel successfully conceived as a pastoral tool for young people and families.
– The fervent work of youth ministry and support for evangelization organized by the Apostolic Movement continues thanks to the original musicals composed by Cettina Marraffa. After having staged the musicals “And let there be light…”, “Under your shadow a song” (we remind in particular the setting up in the official program of the WYD in Madrid), “Meditating the Passion” (also staged) in Lourdes for the 2010 Italian national pilgrimage), and Esther – The musical, in March 2018 “Under your shadow a song” was repeated. The invitation to bring the work back up came from the Archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace, who suggested it as an instrument of diocesan preparation for the next Synod of Youth. Another reply was offered on August 30 at the St. Mary of the Rescue parish in Reggio Calabria, at the invitation of the parish priest Msgr. Giorgio Costantino. On 4 January 2019, in communion with the message of the Holy Father Francis for the 52nd World Day of Peace, the young people of the Apotolico Movement presented, with two shows, a “Concert of Peace”, at the Auditorium “A. Casalinuovo” in Catanzaro. The show, conceived by Cettina Marraffa, saw the participation of musicians, young people, children who transmitted moments of joy and revived the Christmas spirit. Some associations and institutions concerned in following fragile people were also involved, arousing so much emotion in the people present.
– The systematic youth training program continues. Father Alessandro Carioti and other priests, every last Thursday of the month, held some meetings entitled: “Young people in mission, charisma-gospel-world”, destined precisely to the world of youth, in his “Mary Mother of the Church” parish. Other events were dedicated to the preparation of the 2019 Youth Meeting, starting with the apostolic exhortation Christus vivit of H.H. Francis.
– The four Meetings of young people organized starting from 2015 turned out to be very successful and fruitful events. The first was held on 1 August 2015 in Palumbo Sila (KR). The second took place on 3 August 2016, when almost a thousand participants gathered at the amphitheatre of the Sila National Park in the Monaco district of Taverna (CZ), in keeping with the WYD theme dedicated to “Blessed are the merciful”. The third meeting, which repeated the success of the previous year in the same Silan setting, was dedicated to the Youth Synod, following the theme: “A better world is also built thanks to you” (Pope Francis). In 2018, due to the happy coincidence of the meeting of young Italians with Pope Francis (11-12 August), the young people of the Apostolic Movement lived a day of reflection and prayer in Serra San Bruno (4 August), ended with the participation in the Holy Mass organized by the Regional Youth Ministry and the Calabrian Episcopal Conference, in view of the national gathering. A significant representation of the youth of the Apostolic Movement, led by some presbyters, took part in Rome in the national meeting with the Holy Father. On 3rd August 2019 the fourth meeting of young people was held in Sila, on the theme “Other dreams that the world does not offer (Christus vivit 36)”, much appreciated for the careful preparation and direct involvement of young people in group reflections.
– The president of the Apostolic Movement was present at the International Meeting with movements and new communities, wanted by the new Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life on June 14, 2017. Together with a young adherent, the president attended the same meeting again held at the same Dicastery on 19 June 2018. Also on 13 June 2019 he participated in the appointment to which the Dicastery invited the Apostolic Movement together with representatives of other lay groups scattered throughout the world, for a discussion on the subject of abuses.
– The concern of the Apostolic Movement for vocations is not diminishing. A group of vocational animation, led by a presbyter, was set up to continually raise awareness among the adherents and parish communities about prayer and the offering of the selves for vocations to the ministerial priesthood and the consecrated life. A new priest whose vocation matured in the Apostolic Movement was ordained in July 2019.
– The mission of the Apostolic Movement continues both in Italy and abroad and so do the visits of various bishops from mission areas. In February 2017, Fr Francesco Brancaccio returned to visit the adhering members and assistant presbyters of the Apostolic Movement in the Dioceses of Douala (Cameroon) and Pointe-Noire (Rep. of Congo), at the invitation of the local Bishops, to support the work of formation and mission and intensify the confrontation with the Central Seat. On this occasion he brought some help to the local communities. In November 2017, Fr. Jean Paul Nguembo, parish priest in the diocese of Pointe Noire (Rep. of Congo) came to our central seat; he informed the faithful present that with the support of the Apostolic Movement the construction of a nursery school in the village of Tsessi was realized. During the pastoral year, the Apostolic Movement had the joy of welcoming some Bishops from abroad who celebrated the Eucharist at the “Mary, Mother of the Church” parish in Catanzaro: January 22, 2018, HE Msgr. Mizonzo , Bishop of the Diocese of Nkay, Republic of Congo; on February 5, 2018, Mons. Walter Dario Maggi, Bishop of the Diocese of Guayaqui in Ecuador; on June 5, 2018, H. E. Msgr. Joachim Ouedraogo, Bishop and Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference of the Diocese of Koudougou (Burkina-Faso); on 8 October 2018 H. E. Msgr. Markus Büchel, Bishop of the Diocese of St. Gall in Switzerland.
– In the various places, the adherents of the Apostolic Movement have worked to co-run responsibly the mission of the respective dioceses and parishes, participating in diocesan appointments and organisms and offering availability, according to the charisma of each, in all operational sectors: evangelization, catechism and catechesis, liturgy and sacraments, pastoral councils, Caritas, voluntary and missionary activity, pastoral care of youth, families, culture and the sick.
– The catechesis and formation services cured by the Apostolic Movement in all locations, in reference to the local pastoral plans and inaugurated annually in different dioceses by the respective Bishops, has also continued uninterruptedly for 40 years. In 2018-2019 the catechesis program proposed by the Apostolic Movement followed the theme “The people of the New Covenant”. In the central seat, the meetings were systematically conducted by the central assistant Msgr. Costantino Di Bruno. A program of training meetings particularly aimed at young families was also taken care of by Fr Alessandro Carioti, in Catanzaro, every last Sunday of the month; he organized it having as theme the matrimonial journey in its various aspects: love, faith, family and loyalty. Systematic catechesis programs were conducted by the respective assistant priests in various other locations. The formative, organic and systematic itinerary supports the missionary commitment to which the adhering members are daily called in families, in parishes, in work and study environments, in social life and wherever it is urgent to bear witness to the mercy of the Lord. The work of evangelization, missionary animation of the parishes, testimony of charity involves daily the assistants, the responsible members and the adherents of all the centres, in communion with their pastors.
– The mission and formation service that the Apostolic Movement offers on the Web has been further intensified. The site has been enriched with further theological and pastoral tools. Among them, it should be noted in particular that in 2017 the Central Assistant Msgr. Costantino Di Bruno completed the commentaries on all the books of Sacred Scripture, made available free of charge for free consultation and download by visitors, together to many other publications and aids written by the same theologian. The publication of the online periodic Apostolic Movement continues (in two editions, corresponding to the Roman and the Ambrosian Rites), the Gospel of the Day and other columns. The presence of the Apostolic Movement in social media has also been strengthened, conducted in the perspective of testimony, listening and pastoral service.
ON THE WAY TO THE FUTURE
The future is always full of surprises, always new, if it is conducted under the motion of the Spirit. But no one might be moved by God if he does not grow in God, growing in grace and truth. For this reason, the dual formation of catechesis and the knowledge of our particular charisma calls for a highly consecrated life of prayer and the well-ordered celebration of the sacraments of salvation. Prayer and sacraments are more than oxygen for the body. Every grace is drawn from the sacramental and prayer contact with Christ Jesus and the Redemption Mother.
We understand what our future is. We know what the Lord wants from us: that the Father’s house is filled. That we go by land and sea, calling every man to conversion, so that he becomes the true body of Christ. That we work in the Church, with the Church and for the Church. Since the Church for us is the parish, we are asked to work in the Parish, with the Parish and for the Parish, under the guidance and in obedience to the Pastor who has Christ’s place for the guidance of his flock, in grace and in truth. This future must be realized. It has been entrusted to us.
All our praise is raised to our heavenly Father, through Christ Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, for having called us to be one with his Son and to live his mission of redemption and salvation towards every man. In thanking the Blessed Trinity, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redemption, the Angels and Saints must also be thanked and blessed, praised and exalted for their daily assistance, intercession and presence in our lives. Without their constant intervention with God, no man might ever persevere. He gets tired. He fails and gives up.
Together with Heaven, the human instruments the Spirit used and uses must be thanked: The Inspirer and Founder of the Apostolic Movement, Mrs. Maria Marino. Mrs. Concetta Venerina Marraffa. The President, Mr. Cesare Maria Rotundo. The Central Council. The central secretary. Diocesan and parish secretaries. Diocesan and parish responsible adherents. Collaborators and Candidates. Each one with his charisma, his grace and the Holy Spirit that moves him, is called today to give more energy and strength so that the Apostolic Movement can live its mission.
Thanksgiving is raised to God for the Diocesan and Parish Ecclesiastical Assistants. The weight of training weighs on them. Through their word, the Word of God resounds in hearts. For their sacramental action, grace is given. All the priests in whose parishes the Apostolic Movement lives must be thanked with them. The deacons must be blessed for their service and the consecrated lay women of the Association “Mary, Mother of the Redemption”, for their incessant prayer for the benefit of the mission of conversion and sanctification of hearts entrusted to the Apostolic Movement.
A special hymn of praise to God and thanksgiving for the Most Excellent Bishops, who welcomed the Apostolic Movement in their Dioceses. May the Lord, the God of the right rewards, give them the eternal reward. We bless and praise Christ Jesus and his Mother for the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. May his memory always be a beacon of truth and doctrine for us. We thank, bless and praise the Lord for Pope Francis, Pastor of the whole Church, Guide of the flock of the Lord. May our prayer rise incessantly for Him so that he always responds to the expectations of the Supreme Shepherd, Christ Jesus.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Redemption, every day renew in our hearts the love for Christ Jesus and listening to the Holy Spirit. With her at our side, invoked with the Holy Rosary, our filial love will grow and the mission will also be enriched with many fruits of conversion and conformation to Christ the Lord. May this pastoral year 2019-2020 be for all of us full of greater zeal to bring to fulfilment our conformation to Christ Crucified, without which no fruit of salvation will mature for us. May the Angels and Saints assist us in this determination.
Catanzaro, 8 September 2019.