VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II marked the vigil of Pentecost by giving unprecedented recognition to lay movements within the Church.
As the Register went to press, tens of thousands of people from ecclesial communities around the globe were scheduled to meet the Pope for an evening rally May 30 in St. Peter's Square. The gathering is intended to highlight the works of evangelization being carried out by these grass-roots groups. It will also demonstrate Pope John Paul II's personal conviction that lay movements represent a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit within the world.The meeting with the Pope caps nearly a week of activity in Rome for members of some 50 movements and communities. The events have been organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity — the Vatican office concerned with the contribution the lay faithful make to the life and mission of the Church.Among those represented at the rally were the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the Neocatechumenal Communities, Regnum Christi, the Secular Franciscan Order, the Cursillo Movement, and l'Arche. Earlier in the week, delegates from these groups also took part in a three-day World Congress of Ecclesial Movements.
This is not the first time the ecclesial movements have come together to share their reflection and experience on an international level. Unlike previous meetings, however, this year's events are the first sponsored directly by the Holy See. (Stephen Banyra)