Vatican City, 14 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the Holy See Press Office, a conference was held to present the Third World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and new communities. Promoted and organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity on the theme “The Joy of the Gospel: a missionary joy”, the Congress will be held from 20 to 22 November in the Maria Mater Ecclesiae Pontifical College, Rome.
The speakers in the conference were Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the same dicastery; Maria Voce, president of the Focolare Movement; and Jean-Luc Moens, president of Fidesco, young volunteers in evangelisation and development projects, and member of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”.
Cardinal Rylko remarked that the Pontifical Magisterium has perceived in the phenomenon of movements “a current of grace, a gift and a timely response from the Holy Spirit to the serious challenges that today's world poses to the mission of the Church”. He recalled that, for St. John Paul II, movements constituted a “reason for hope for the Church and for mankind”, and were seen by Pope Benedict XVI as “new incursions of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, powerful ways of living faith, a healthy provocation, of which the Church is always in need, and 'creative minorities', decisive for the future of humanity”. He added that Pope Francis, in this respect, is in perfect harmony with his predecessors.
The Congress will be attended by approximately three hundred laypersons – founders, moderators and general delegates – representing around a hundred movements and new communities, with a broad international dimension. They will be joined by a large number of pastors, bishops and priests. The prelate explained that the novelty of this Congress derives from the fact that it originated from the great meeting with the Pope that took place at Pentecost in 2013 in the context of the Year of Faith, and added that the theme of the congress clearly expresses that “our work is guided by the Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii gaudium'. This is the great challenge that Pope Francis presents to us. … He wants an 'outbound' Church, that reaches out to the geographical and existential peripheries of our world, a Church that is particularly attentive and close to all the poor, suffering and excluded, the bitter product of the 'throwaway culture' that dominates nowadays. … And it is precisely this that is the great and fundamental challenge that the movements wish to accept during this third world Congress'”.