Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Don Gius -- A Year On

Tomorrow marks a year since the death of Msgr. Luigi Giussani, founder of the Commun- ione e Liberazione movement.

Joseph Ratzinger has long held an affinity for the cielini, as its adherents are called. He's said that the movement has "changed my life" and his preaching turn at Giussani's mega-funeral last year in the Milan Duomo began the tidal wave of perception which started to see the the CDF head as a potential papabile.

Of course, Don Gius was Whispers' 2005 International Churchman of the Year.

To commemorate the occasion, the Pope has sent a glowing, handwritten letter to Fr Julián Carrón, Giussani's successor as CL's head. Below is our translation of the original Italian:
To the Reverend Father
Don Julián Carrón

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of the late Msgr. Luigi Giussani, father and teacher to so many young people, to whom he indicated Christ as the center of their existence, I join myself spiritually to you and to the entire Movement of Communion and Liberation in thanks to the Lord for the gift of this zealous priest, loved by men because he was loved by Christ. I recall with emotion the solemn celebration of his funeral in the Duomo of Milan, which also gave me the time to sense the esteem and appreciation that he, in the course of his fertile existence, knew had arisen around his person, his teaching and his apostolic work.

As I underlined in the course of the funeral, dear Don Giussani emphasized above all the binding fidelity to Christ and the incessant force of communicationg the richness of the Gospel message to each social category. He left his spiritual children the charge of continuing the walk in his footsteps, following his teaching and remaining always in communion with the Bishops and other ecclesiastical entities. To that end, I assure my prayer, asking the Lord that Communione e Liberazione may serve the cause of the Gospel with joy, persevering in the work begun by its venerable founder.

And with these sentiments, on this very significant occasion, I invoke copious effusions of graces and celestial comforts on you, successor of Don Giussani, on your collaborators and on the entire spiritual family which you have the task of guiding, while in a sign of my particular affection I impart to all a special Apostolic Blessing, seeking to extend it to the relatives of Msgr. Luigi Giussani and to all those who keep his memory alive.

From the Vatican, 2 February 2006


To further mark the anniversary, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the papal vicar for Rome, will celebrate a memorial Mass later this week.