Charisms Together at Assisi

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“There was a feeling of Church at Assisi
on Saturday, October 23, 2010”,
“An historical day!” 
“A fruitful and memorable day”,
“A Pentecost experience”,
“A beautiful and joyful Church”:
these were some of the impressions left by the participants
in the meeting of movements and communities
at the conclusion
of the day entitled, “Charisms Together”,
which was held on Saturday, October 23,
in the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare in Assisi..

It seemed like the two Saints must have been truly present among the more than two thousand participants: members of the Franciscan Family and some forty other older movements, which met in such a great number for the first time together with representatives of 15 Ecclesial movements and new communities, among which were St. Egidio, Renewal of the Spirit, the Focolari Movement, and others.…

Assisi

Many recalled the continuity with the Vigil of Pentecost, 1998 at Rome, when John Paul II called the Ecclesial Movements together in St. Peter’s Square. At that time, some 50 movements were present, which the Holy Father called “mutually essential” for the Church.

The day at Assisi was organized by the Franciscan Family, the Diocese, the regional CISM (?) and USMI (?), the SFO, and the Focolari, in order to remember the tenth anniversary of the meeting held at Assisi in the Basilica of St. Francis, on October 26, 2000, between the Franciscan Family and the Focolari. On that occasion, Chiara Lubich affirmed, speaking of the older movements: “There exists in the Bride of Christ, jewels without number, forged from the saints and the heroes (…)  fruit of the generous charisms of the Holy Spirit throughout the centuries” and together these anticipate “a Church more one, more attractive, more forceful, more familial, more dynamic, more Marian, more charismatic”. These words were also tangible in the joyful atmosphere of the meeting this year.

Participating were the Ministers General, Friar Marco Tasca, OFM Conv., and Friar Josè Carballo, OFM, the President of the Focolari, Maria Voce, the Franciscan Ministers Provincial of Umbria, the national Presidents of CISM (?) and USMI (?), Cardinal Vlk, several Umbrian Bishops, representatives from the Renewal of the Spirit, and St. Egidio, the Abbot of Innsbruck, and the President of MOREFRA (?).

The Bishop of Assisi recalled the attitude of Francis, which he asks of us today: divest yourself of your own agendas and limited activity, so that God can give each of us our own particular charism: taking on the gift of the other as did Francis when embracing the leper, finding the ultimate joy in meeting those who are different.

The day ended with the signing of a “Common Pact” taking on the task of that which is written in Beginning Again from Christ (n.30), that is to: “love the community and the religious family of the other as if it is your own”. The Pact was signed by the Superiors present, and by more than 50 representatives of the various movements, old and new. Now we move forward to develop a new “culture of togetherness” in the Church at all levels.

Here are some additional comments on the meeting:
“as a member of a new movement, I was impressed by the depth of the older movements; I saw a beautiful Church, and I am happy to be a part of it”;
“I was very sceptical regarding the dialogue between some of the confreres and with the new movements; today I understand that the Church wants the charisms together, not keeping my Franciscan charism to myself, but to add it to the other gifts that might be different from my own”;
“the whole day I could feel the silent and efficacious action of the Holy Spirit, which brought us together with each other”;
“today we have arrived at a process that cannot be turned around; we have to move forward, with the Superiors and the Leaders present, we have signed and proclaimed a Common Pact”.

Friar Egidio Canil OFMConv