The words addressed by Pope Francis on Pentecost 2013 before the Regina Coeli to the ecclesial movements and new communities remain a strong encouragement: “You are a gift and a treasure in the Church! This is what you are! […] Always convey the power of the Gospel! Do not be afraid! Always feel joy and enthusiasm for communion in the Church!”.
After a broad consultation, in order to help the movements and new communities reply to the Pope’s call, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decided to convoke them for a new World Congress, in continuity with those held in 1998 and 2006. On those occasions the meetings were followed by a meeting with the Holy Father; while in the current case, for various reasons, this dynamic has been reversed.
The Congress will be held in Rome, from November 20th to 24th 2014, and will have as its theme “The Joy of the Gospel: a missionary joy…” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 21). The Pontifical Council for the Laity invited to take part in it delegates from the largest International Ecclesial Movements and New Communities around the world.
Pope Francis has widely opened, through the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, a new moment in the Church’s mission of evangelisation, characterised by renewed dynamism and joy. It is precisely on this theme that our Congress wishes to express the joyful attachment that the ecclesial movements and new communities bring to the Pope’s pressing invitation to enter a “dynamism of missionary outreach”.
In this spirit, the Pontifical Council for the Laity has prepared a prayer (published below) to accompany the period of preparation to the Congress.