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The Church, Our Mother

In La Thuile, Jonathan and Fr. Alex rediscover what it means to be children of the Church

Saint Pope John Paul II greets Msgr. Luigi Giussani at a gathering of ecclesial movements at the Vatican in 1998

From the beginning of our time together, Davide Prosperi put the entire Movement in dialogue with the universal Church by highlighting the invitation extended to us by the Church to consider the gift of our Movement and to ask how we put it at the service of the Church and world. That dialogue continued as various bishops spoke to us and responded to our questions about what this means for our charism and how we move forward.

I was grateful for this dialogue because, honestly, things like Fr. Carron’s resignation and the new statutes being written have felt rather distant to me. Distant in the sense that these things "are not my problem". It was easy to receive the letter from Cardinal Farrell several months ago and to dismiss it immediately as someone else’s issue or as an "Italian problem". Because, for me, in the middle of nowhere Indiana, it didn’t seem to impact the life we are sharing.

Yet, what I experienced at the International Meeting was the fruitfulness of wrestling with these questions. It reminded me of when my mom had a lung transplant several years ago and I watched my dad sit by her bed every day and hold her hand when she was in the ICU. No amount of reading or talking about my dad’s care for my mom would have taught me what I witnessed. Similarly, what I experienced at the meeting was Mother Church calling her children to herself with a tenderness that made me even more grateful for the gift of the charism because I saw that the more I lived it, the more I lived in the arms of my Mother. For this reason, I am grateful I am not spared the invitation to look at the questions proposed by the Church for our Movement.

I understand better now why Davide has been insisting that we consider how we are responsible for this charism: it’s not for the sake of "doing our part"; rather, it’s for the sake of allowing ourselves to know the embrace of our Mother who wants to bring to fruition the gift we have received.

Fr. Alex, Evansville, IN


Arriving in La Thuile, I ran into people I knew from previous years, and I also met many new people. It was immediately clear that everyone I met had the same desire and expectations as me: that this moment bring about the same radical newness that we met when we first encountered the Movement. The first morning there was an assembly and talk with Don Massimo Camisasca. I was familiar with some of his writings, being the founder of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, but I was surprisedly shaken by his authoritative words.

I was moved that his starting point was that we are children of the Church, and we will never – can never – become illegitimate children. He said that no matter what happens, we are Her children, even if some days we are bad children! He went on to speak about how we are alive as a Movement and there is much to rejoice in. Ultimately, Camisasca’s message was that we should look and follow the beautiful things that are happening among us, and know that the Church is our Mother, who will always love us.

This message filled me with an incredible feeling of gladness. I personally do not know all the complexities that exist in the Movement around the world, but I have often felt weighed down at the thought that there could be a friction between the Movement and the Church. Instead, following Camisasca’s words, I felt more united to the Church than ever. I personally met the Church through the Movement and, again, through Camisasca’s paternal embrace, I was recalled to the fact that Christ comes to me through the Movement and that the Church is the place where He lives – they are one! In this rediscovery, I felt as if a weight was lifted from me.

The rest of my time at the meeting was filled with great joy. It reminded me of my first GS vacation in New York. It was no longer a meeting I agreed to attend, but an event filled with Christ’s presence. Everything from the hike to the meals was a beautiful opportunity to again see Him.

I am grateful, not only for Camisasca’s talk and the beautiful time spent with friends, but that the time I spent was the fruit of a ‘yes’ that I, and my whole family, were called to give in my going. It was a fruit that was greater than could have been imagined.

Jonathan, St. Cloud, MN


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