Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sonja Corbitt

3/17/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Such movements and communities are viewed as 'a sign of hope' in the world.

A gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

A gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

Highlights

By Sonja Corbitt

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/17/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


NASHVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - Over the course of her rich history, the Church has communicated and spread the Faith through the inspiration and innovation of both individuals and communities. As people desired to witness the love, unity, joy and truth of Christianity, those with similar visions and apostolate missions gathered together in groups.

Although the Church has historically been home to a long line of these special groups – monastic orders and religious communities, confraternities, sodalities, third orders, and guilds – there has been a resurgence of interest in lay societies in the 20th century after the Second Vatican Council, out of which were born most of what became known as the Lay Ecclesial Movements and New Communities.

Unity in Diversity

Although some preceded it by a decade or two, they were therefore referred to by John Paul II as "expressions of the new springtime brought forth by the Spirit with the Second Vatican Council." Due to the organic, Pentecostal, and therefore unpredictable nature of their beginnings and emphases, organizers and planners in the Church first had reservations in regard to the movements.

The life that burst forth from them through the power of the Holy Spirit, however, gave new avenues of service to the laity in particular, and in their unpredictability they continue to flourish and keep the Church young.

It was because of this that Benedict the XVI said of the character of these movements that "organic is more important than what is organized," and that "[i]t is no longer possible to think of the life of the Church of our time without including these gifts of God within it" in a letter he sent last year.

Such groups and movements "announce the power of God's love, which in overcoming divisions and barriers of every kind, renews the face of the earth to build the civilization of love" (John Paul II, homily of the Mass for Pentecost, Sunday May 31st 2000).

They exist to give members an outlet to actively practice their faith in the Church, and each group witnesses to Christ in a different way in the world, according to its specific "charism" or gift. These charisms are the sacred force that has mobilized so many people over the generations. Today also, they are often the means by which Jesus continues to invite people to follow Him into the world to minister and serve those in need.

Although God calls everyone to holiness, each person´s path to sanctity takes a different course, one that fits his or her temperament and talents. Those in Lay Ecclesial Movements live their baptismal call to discipleship through a specific "charism" or gift proper to the movement or community to which they belong. They practice distinctive ways of life and prayer. 

Ecclesial Movements answer the call of Christ in a variety of ways, educational methods and apostolic methods and goals, and are united by the spirituality, apostolic mission, and particular outreach of their group or movement. The members are also vocationally varied, so that members with families, consecrated members, religious, priests and large numbers of young people all serve according to unique charisms.

A member of the Catholic Worker Movement, for instance, focuses on hospitality towards those on the margins of society. Those in L´Arche create homes and programs based on The Beatitudes for people with developmental disabilities. Cursillo is involved in leadership training to help others deepen their spiritual commitment. Legion of Mary is comprised of those who are primarily engaged in the performance of the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

The Finger of God

Whether they are familiar or not, hundreds of these movements and communities, begun here and in Europe, are present and flourishing throughout the entire Church, so that Pope Benedict XVI recently referred to them as "a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church."

Because their members are largely, and sometimes exclusively, laity, these recent foundations are called Lay Movements. They usually maintain canonical recognition through the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Members of some Lay Movements may make private vows similar to the vows taken by men and women religious, but most members of all the groups are simply men and women who go about their daily lives the same way as any other Catholic.

Those who seek to experience their faith more fully or want to become part of a small faith-formation community should look into the different Lay Ecclesial Movements, as they are a spiritual home and a unique way of holiness for many. A complete directory of International Associations of the Faithful can be found here

"Where charity is expressed as a passion for the life and destiny of others, radiating into the affections ... and becoming a force for creating a more just social order, there we build a civilization capable of facing up to the advance of barbarism.

"Be builders of a better world, according to the 'ordo amoris' [order of love] in which the beauty of human life is expressed" (Pope Benedict XVI in a letter to participants of the 2nd World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities).

Such movements and communities are such "a sign of hope" for the good of the Church and all of humanity, as they are the hands and feet of Christ and the finger of God in a desperate, needy world.

-----

Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic speaker, Scripture teacher and study author, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. She is available to speak on the New Feminism, current events and your preferred theme. Visit her at www.pursuingthesummit.com for information and sample videos, or www.pursuingthesummit.blogspot.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

5 Disney movies you never knew had hidden religious messages Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Disney movies are a well-known and well-loved part of most people's childhood. These stories talk and teach us things, like believing in ourselves and follow our dreams. Recently, the stories inspire courage and kindness, as well as forms of "true love." But viewers ... continue reading


5 excellent tips on how to read the Bible Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Bible is one of the most popular published books ever written in the history of life, but also one of the hardest to read and understand. Unlike most books published today, the Bible contains a lot of statements that are full of dates, metaphors and written to ... continue reading


Unholy political positions in the Holy Land Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

As the minds and hearts of Christians throughout the world focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we naturally think of the Holy Land. Throughout much of history, in the land where the world's savior taught human beings to love one another as ... continue reading


200 Christian teachers denied day off for Good Friday Watch

Image of The 2014-2015 school years are the first time in recent memory that officials scheduled classes during both Good Friday and the Jewish holidays.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Rhode Island school district is being sued over the claim that 200 Christian teachers were denied requests to take Good Friday off from work. The teacher's union claims that the decision denies educators the two religious days that they are afforded in their ... continue reading


For the first time in over 150 years -- Blood of St. Januarius liquefies during Francis' visit to Naples Watch

Image of According to legend, Januarius was allegedly born in Benevento to a rich patrician family that traced its descent to the Caudini tribe of the Samnites.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in over 150 years, the blood of St. Januarius liquefied in the presence of a pope this past weekend. The phenomenon occurred when Pope Francis visited Naples this past weekend. It was the first time the blood liquefied in the presence of a ... continue reading


Church to Canonize Mom and Dad of St Therese, Show the Holiness of Christian Marriage Watch

Image of Pictured: Louis and Zelie Martin, the Mom and Dad of St Therese
For those called to live their Christian life in a consecrated Christian marriage, it is in the domestic church where progress in the spiritual life finds its raw material. The question we face every day becomes whether we live Christian marriage and family as a Christian vocation by responding to grace.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Louis and Zelie married in France in 1858. They had nine children. Five entered a consecrated or religious life in the Church. We have 218 letters which were written by Zelie.  They record the naturally supernatural pattern of a very real, human and devout ... continue reading


Drinking the Chalice of the Lord: Facing Suffering, Struggle and Failure Watch

Image of All of those who bear the name Christian are invited to follow the path of Jesus' struggle, to walk along with Him on the way of His rejection. We too are invited to climb the mountain of His great saving act of unmerited selfless Divine love. Golgotha beckons.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

James was the son of Zebedee and brother of John. From faithful stock, we see in this encounter that some forms of zeal may indeed be genetic. In fact, the zeal in both of these brothers caused the Lord to name them the Sons of Thunder.(Mk 3:14-17) However, human ... continue reading


7 endangering myths Christians believe about other Christians Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Disheartening isn't it? But it has been observed that Christians are divided among themselves. This is not what God wanted, as expressed by the writings in the Scriptures. However, there are some issues between the believers that makes them not united as they should ... continue reading


Josephs Way: Joseph, Husband of Mary, Model for Christian Men Watch

Image of The Dream of Joseph led to the response of a life given over to God

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In an age that has lost its way, because it has succumbed to the selfish pursuit of illusory pleasure, Joseph needs to be lifted up as a model for men who truly want to follow Jesus Christ. It is time for Christian men to follow his example, and become men again. ... continue reading


Pope tells Nigeria's bishops to form united front against terror group Boko Haram Watch

Image of In addition to addressing various issues, the Pope praised Nigeria, with a population of more than 170 million people, and has experienced strong economic growth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the emerging African economic powerhouse of Nigeria takes to the polls, Pope Francis, in a stirring message, has urged the country's bishops to build a united front against the Boko Haram terrorist group. Pope Francis' comments came in a letter to the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 37:21-28
21 say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the ... Read More

Psalm, Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13
10 Listen, nations, to the word of Yahweh. On the ... Read More

Gospel, John 11:45-57
45 Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 28th, 2015 Image

St. Venturino of Bergamo
March 28: Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter