14 – 18 APRIL 1980

Two members of the International Council of the ICO, Ralph Martin of Brussels, Belgium and Hervé Marie Catta of Paris, France, represented the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at a special meeting organized by the Pontifical Council of the Laity in Rocca di Papa from April 14-18. Representatives from 16 major spiritual renewal movements in the Church were invited to the meeting in order to become better acquainted with each other and to discern God’s work in the Church today.

During the meeting reports were presented on the specific nature and focus of each spiritual renewal movement represented. Then, some representatives made a presentation on a selected theme, which served in turn as the basis for reflection and discussion throughout the day. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal was entrusted with a presentation on the universal call to holiness. In addition, Ralph Martin was asked to preside over the English-language working group and Hervé Marie Catta played an active role in the French-language working group.

In summarizing the results of the meeting, the Most. Rev. Paul Cordes, Vice-President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, told delegates that the meeting had attained all its objectives. He stressed the importance of the renewal of spiritual life for the communion and mission of the Church and for the renewal of temporal realities. “It often takes a great deal of time to pass between sowing the seed and harvesting the fruit; the efficacy of your movements cannot be measured in terms of figures…but in terms of the fruits of holiness, your ability to form Christians with a coherent faith, who love the Church, who have a well-grounded doctrinal formation, a disciplined spiritual life, which shines forth in their lives…” he said.

Several resolutions were adopted during the meeting. Among other things, representatives decided to set aside the first Friday of each month as a special time of prayer during which the members of the various movements would pray for one another and also for the work of the Holy Father in the spiritual renewal of the Church. Furthermore, the representatives decided to develop the bonds of communication and collaboration between the different movements. A larger meeting of lay associations in the Church will take place in the future.

At the end of the meeting, Pope John Paul II received the representatives in a special audience. “Your meeting takes on particular importance for the Church because the spiritual renewal of which you are a fruitful sign, among so many other ecclesial experiences, is the foundation and the living power of the communion of the Church and her work of evangelization” the Holy Father told them. When Ralph Martin and Hervé Marie Catta were presented to the Holy Father at the end of the audience, he mentioned his fond memory of his earlier meeting with them and other members of the International Council last December.

Taken from the ICO Newsletter, May-June 1980

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