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Rest in Peace, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete: Communion and Liberation Priest Enters Eternal Encounter

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By Deacon Keith A Fournier
10/24/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

This encounter with the Lord is meant to touch all men and women. The God who loves us, embraces us in that love. That Love is a Person. We are changed in the encounter and participate in His ongoing embrace of the whole world.

As we pause to honor Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, Communion and Liberation Priest, may our prayers accompany him, lighting his passage into the eternal encounter with the Lord whom he loves. Let us also ask for his prayers - and follow his example. Let us decide to live our lives in the encounter by learning the way of encounter, and offering it to all we meet.

Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete was a leader in the ecclesial movement called Communion and Liberation. He was also a gifted writer, known for his naturally supernatural holiness of life. Those whom he touched are a living testimony to a life - and a priesthood - which was well lived. In encountering him, they encountered Jesus Christ. That experience is the very heart of the Gospel, the meaning of the Christian claim. It is the key to understanding the Church. It is the spirituality of Communion and Liberation.

Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete was a leader in the ecclesial movement called Communion and Liberation. He was also a gifted writer, known for his naturally supernatural holiness of life. Those whom he touched are a living testimony to a life - and a priesthood - which was well lived. In encountering him, they encountered Jesus Christ. That experience is the very heart of the Gospel, the meaning of the Christian claim. It is the key to understanding the Church. It is the spirituality of Communion and Liberation.

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - I just received the news that Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete passed to into the communion of saints last night. I never personally met him. However, my life has been touched by those who have.

Monsignor was a leader in the ecclesial movement called Communion and Liberation. He was also a gifted writer, known for his naturally supernatural holiness of life. Those whom he touched are a living testimony to a life - and a priesthood - which was well lived.

In encountering him, they encountered Jesus Christ. That experience is the very heart of the Gospel, the meaning of the Christian claim. It is the key to understanding the Church. It is the spirituality of Communion and Liberation.

Communion and Liberation is one of multiple ecclesial movements flourishing in the Church and taking a significant role in this new missionary age. You can read more about this contribution to the Church and her mission here.

The spirituality of Communion and Liberation can best be found in one of the words which its participants use so very frequently - encounter. The inspiration and passion of their approach to living Christianity as a vocation - is that they know it is about an encounter, with a Person, Jesus Christ.

Pope Emeritus Benedict is known to have a high regard for the movement. His theology and papal magisterium is replete with invitations to encounter the Lord. The beginning of his masterful encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) , offers this profound insight: "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction."

Encounter is also one of the words used often by his successor, Pope Francis. In one of his homilies (4/29/13) he spoke of the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession, as an encounter with Jesus who always awaits us and takes us as we are, offering us his love and healing. This word encounter is the ground of his sacramental theology.

The word encounter illumines the path he proposes toward full communion with Eastern Christians not yet in union with the Holy See. He invites us to build with them a "culture of encounter".

His commitment to peace, demonstrated by his call for a global day of prayer and fasting to quell the Syrian conflict, is rooted in his conviction that we must reject all forms of violence, war and conflict and embrace instead dialogue and encounter as the path to peace.

This word - encounter - is a key, a lens, what theologians call a hermeneutic. It helps us to understand Pope Francis and his way of incarnating the Gospel in his witness of life.

He is always reminding all of us who bear the name Christian that Christianity is about an ongoing encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ. Many speculate that Francis is very close to the movement, Communion and Liberation.  It would not surprise me.

This Pope regularly speaks of encountering Jesus as a Person. He constantly invites us to remember that the Risen Jesus always comes to encounter us - in prayer, word, and sacrament, in one another, the poor, suffering, and even our daily struggles. 

In all of these - we can encounter Jesus, even if initially hidden - if we open our hearts to His Mercy and Love, by living faith. Francis us to encounter one another - and the whole world which Jesus loves - to live our life as a way of encounter.

This word encounter helps to explain his ecclesiology, or theology of the Church. The Church is the place of encounter. The Church is not some-thing but Some-One, the Body of the Risen Jesus. Jesus is the head of His Body - and the head and the Body cannot be separated. Through our participation in the mission of the Church we participate in His continuing redemptive mission.

Francis gives regular reflections on the Church in homilies, reminding us that the Lord invites all men and women to this encounter with Him in His Body. He reminds us that the Church embraces us as a mother awaits her children. This Pope is expounding and re-presenting a Patristic image of the Church, one which holds enormous promise on many fronts.

This spirituality of encounter is a treasure for this barren age. It comes at a moment when the whole Church - and the world into which she is sent - desperately needs such a spirituality of encounter. It will be seen as the true treasure of this papacy. 

In explaining the emphasis Pope Francis places on encounter, some observers point to his relationship with the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation whose founder, Fr. Luigi Giussani, used the word encounter. He properly insisted that Christianity, at its heart, is an encounter with Jesus Christ.

In his first encyclical letter, the Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei) - which Francis acknowledged was written with Pope Emeritus Benedict - we find the word encounter is woven throughout the text. That is because Pope Benedict similarly emphasized the centrality of an encounter with Jesus.

He regularly taught that Christianity is not some-thing, but an encounter with Some-One, the One who lives no more to die and who is encountered through living faith.

In the Light of Faith, we read: "Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfillment, and that a vision of the future opens up before us." (Light of Faith, #4)

This encounter with the Lord is meant to touch all men and women. The God who loves us, embraces us in that love. That Love is a Person. We are changed in the encounter and participate in His ongoing embrace of the whole world.

As we pause to honor Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, Communion and Liberation Priest, may our prayers accompany him, lighting his passage into the eternal encounter with the Lord whom he loves. Let us also ask for his prayers - and follow his example. Let us decide to live our lives in the encounter by learning the way of encounter, and offering it to all we meet.

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Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate.

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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2018
Priests and their Pastoral Ministry.
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.


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