RnS National Animators Conference: “We will open wide to new beginnings”

“A call to help and accompany those who have the willingness to serve the Lord in the time to come” in their hearts”, but also an opportunity to look to the future with confidence and anticipate it in the present, without wasting any of the treasures that the Spirit has given us entrusted in these years”. It goes straight to the point, Salvatore Martinezpresident of the Renewal in the Holy Spiritin introducing the 46th National Animators Conference starting today through Sunday (9-11 December) in Rimini, bringing back a fundamental appointment for the animators of the RnS, that is those who in the ecclesial movement guided by the Holy Spirit play roles of guide, accompaniment, service.

After the years conditioned by Covid 19, the Renewal returns to the Palacongressi in Rimini, a ‘historic’ place where, from its origins, charismatic spirituality has taken the steps of a 50-year journey. Of course a long-awaited return “to the sources”..

The city of Rimini was the source of the ecclesial journey of the RnS. The Convocation open to all in spring, with thousands and thousands of people (up to 54,000), and the Conference reserved for animators and leaders (this year, the 46th, with over 4,000 brothers and sisters), are unique in the world, accomplished face of a Church that breathes “two lungs”, sacramental and charismatic, and which promotes the “people of God”, with spiritual animation and with targeted formation and evangelization, which everyone aspires to involve. see, the city of Rimini was like “the stage for the Holy Spirit”: generations of cardinals, bishops, priests, theologians, witnesses, leaders from all over the world made the culture of Pentecost visible, promoting the ecclesial development of charismatic spirituality , in the double register of Catholic identity and dialogue with other Christian traditions, to reaffirm the unity of faith in the Holy Spirit. How well my eyes have seen in the 25 years in which I have had the grace and privilege of favoring the development of the Charismatic Movement in Italy, under the gaze and encouragement of three wise and farsighted Popes such as John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.

“You love Me?” (see Jn 21, 16). The words of the evangelist John guide the three days aimed at the over 4,000 expected participants: what mandate will be given to the animators of the RnS?
It is a question that does not admit half-answers or reductions of meaning; is “the question of questions!”. We know, Jesus has shown us, how demanding and at the same time exalting it is to love the Father, who loves us unconditionally. It is our faith in God who is love that still calls us to follow him and to serve him in our brothers and sisters, in our neighbors and those far away, joyfully and responsibly adhering to the Lord’s call. Three times Jesus will ask Peter the question “Do you love me?”. To each affirmative answer of the Apostle, Jesus followed up with an order: “Feed my sheep” (cf. Jn 21, 15-17). We too want to let ourselves be surprised by the trust with which Jesus wants to associate us in his service of love, to his love of predilection, so that we too can take care of a love-sick world, which has its saddest and most dramatic evidence in the lack of love for God and neighbor. This Conference comes to the end of the four-year period of service 2019 – 2022 of all pastoral organizations within the Renewal in the Spirit. As per tradition, we have prepared a text – entitled “Do you love me?” – to help and accompany those who have in their hearts the willingness to serve the Lord in the coming time, in view of the renewals of the Organizations themselves, so that all and together we can discern the “call to serve”, therefore the missionary, community vocation , ecclesial and social that awaits us.

With the special Eucharistic Concelebration presided over by Msgr. Giuseppe Baturi, archbishop of Cagliari and secretary general of the CEI, the Golden Jubilee will end on 10 December: what moment will it be?
Fifty years ago the Renewal was born in Rome, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and in San Mauro Pascoli, in the diocese of Rimini, on the initiative of a Canadian missionary, Fr. Valeriano Gaudet, and an American Jesuit theologian, Fr. Francis Sullivan. How much sacred history has passed since those blessed days! How much glory of God we have seen and touched in the lives of so many people, often distant from God or hostile to the Church. Between “memorial and grateful memory”, we experienced a “widespread” Golden Jubilee throughout the territory, with large popular participation, with the privilege granted to us by the Apostolic Penitentiary, in the name of the Pontiff, of a plenary indulgence throughout the year of activity . Jubilee indicates “joy”, Christian joy, effect (“fruit”) of the love poured into our hearts (cf. Gal 5:22). Joy procured by the Spirit in proclaiming and serving what we believe in: Jesus, the Lord, who still works with power, who accredits His Word with signs, miracles, wonders, who makes His disciples capable and strong through the bestowed charisms by his Holy Spirit! This is the hymn of new life that we have been intoning for 50 years and that we want to continue to arouse jubilation in the Church and in the world. In Rimini it will be the epilogue of the Golden Jubilee: we won’t close a door, but we will open the RnS wide open to new beginnings, to new outcomes.

Pope Francis, precisely commenting on the verse that marks the theme of the Conference, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, spoke of a Church that is “mad with love for the Lord”. How to translate this wish into reality, especially in this delicate post-pandemic recovery time?
Already Saint John Paul II, in Novo Millennium Ineunte, had spoken of “ardor of affection and falling in love of the heart” (n.33) to define “the encounter with Christ”. It is impressive to see the lukewarmness of so many believers or the doubtful faith of those who live heedless of Jesus’ resurrection. 2,000 years ago: the petty figure of human pride was overturned by the victory of good over evil, joy over sadness, peace over violence . The many emerging poverties and the many denied riches that characterize our social life; the unique pervasive anthropological thought which challenges Christian humanism and its incontrovertible capacity to affirm man’s integral and transcendent dignity must be approached and faced with a new audacity, with greater openness to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis insistently asks for it, reading the signs of the times. Unfortunately, history seems to proceed as if Christ were not alive, especially when it is precisely Christians who decline the social, moral and cultural responsibilities that come from faith. Certainly, the pandemic has been the litmus test of a spiritual crisis that runs through the heart of institutions, because it is meanwhile in the hearts of men. Yes, a new passion for God and for men is needed; a greater inner transport towards all the poverties that afflict mankind. But this “madness of love for the Lord”, which I like to call “Christian madness”, certainly cannot be bought, nor inherited, nor learned by studying the Catechism: what is needed is a personal and overwhelming encounter with the person of Jesus, with his Gospel and it needs to happen in the Church, which is the living body of Jesus! Certainly the RnS does not retreat and will continue to move in this direction.

The Movement is on the eve of the closure of the service mandate and important news are expected that will mark the life of the Renewal in the Spirit with the new four-year period 2023-2026. With what “look” do we prepare for the future?
The four-year period of service 2023-2026 will be marked by a very significant renewal of the service bodies leading the Movement; first of all from the election of a new leadership of the Movement, with profound changes at national and regional level. However, there will be spiritual and pastoral “continuity”, a “unitary vision” of the journey, as in recent years, to reaffirm the theological foundation – kerygmatic and charismatic – of the Movement, well rooted in the local Churches, active on the front of the formation of adherents, of evangelization to the near and far, of the mission to the least. In the four-year period 2019 – 2022 the onset of the covid-19 pandemic marked our path, but it allowed us to experience a historic digital conversion, a turning point within of the RnS, ensuring the unity and involvement of all components of the Movement and an opening of horizons to be explored by looking at the new generations. We need to look to the future with confidence and anticipate it in the present, giving greater confidence to young people, seriously worrying about making our children Christian and remaking society Christian, without wasting any of the treasures that the Spirit has entrusted to us in recent years.

RnS National Animators Conference: “We will open wide to new beginnings”