Pontifical Council for the Laity
May 3rd , 2010
The Risen Jesus Community International Statute
Speech of thanks
Today it is a day of grace for us and, because of that, as sings the Psalmist, we want “to praise the Lord with all our hearts because he is good. His love is everlasting…” (Sal 136:12). He has done great things for us and for the Risen Jesus Community.
The Risen Jesus Community has been given rise by the Holy Spirit for praise and evangelization, the two “founding” charisms that chacterize us, which our lives are based on and our project is made up. We will live to be a “ living praise “ to the Lord and help all those whom the Holy Spirit sends on our way to enter this charismatic praise.
Everything started in 1971, when, among the first ones in Italy, Alfredo and Jacqueline Ancillotti welcomed the Charismatic Renewal (that came from the USA), giving life to the Maria Group and then to the Maria Community, both present on the national territory. Some years later, in 1987, the Risen Jesus Community was born, the ripest fruit of our journey, to whose foundation the Lord called me, my wife Carmencita, Giampaolo Mollo, who was a deacon as well, his wife Anna, and of course Jacqueline and Alfredo. On this day of joy, with love and gratitude, we want to remember two of the founders, who have already been for some years in the presence of God: Jacqueline and Giampaolo. They prayed, suffered and dedicated their lives to the Community and the Church.
23 years have passed since the foundation – we will celebrate them just at the end of this month! – wonderful years, in which the Community has grown “in age and grace” indeed. Now it is present in Rome in 56 parishes and in Italy in 60 dioceses. In the world it is spread in 12 nations, for a total amount of 310 Communities.
This work also was a work of the Spirit, which goes beyond us. In fact it is true that at every further development was implicit in the vocation we received at our very beginning but every time that we make some progress, we are surprised and, let me say, filled with joy.
The Conferences, which have followed one another all these years, have been a grace too. While counting 250 participants in the first Conference, today we can see a really big people speaking in different languages and experiencing the risen Lord.
We saw the marks of the Lord’s resurrection in the great deal of brothers and sisters who were filled with anguish, when first came to the Community. They were slaves and oppressed by sin, sick in the spirit and in the body and they came back to life and rejoiced, testifying in this way that God’s love can transform lives and hearts, even when they seem to be hopeless.
Thanks to this love, we can know and live in the charismatic prayer, many people came back to the Church and to the practice of the Sacraments, they left decades earlier. A lot of divided families have been reunited, many elderly, solitary and abandoned people have found a new family in the Community, a great deal of youngsters have been “snatched away” from the mentality of the world and won to a life of grace.
All these risen people have given their lives to the service of the Community and the Church. Starting from a will of conversion and prayer, they go on participating in the community life, serving in parishes like catechists, acolytes and singers. Some others have given themselves as a gift, consecrating themselves to the priesthood, to the deaconate and to religious life.
The blessings we received are so many and we want to give thanks to the Lord for them. Our unity, as the International Service Committee, is also a grace. The unity we experience, though with efforts and sacrifices, at every degree of responsibility and in every community context, is also a grace. Indeed we can say that we were given the opportunity “to touch with our hands that everything is grace”!
Now we want to thank God the Father for this last gift, the most recent one. It is an inestimable gift marking a fundamental stage of our history, the gift of this Acknowledgement, which was also obtained for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we implored for the needs of the Community over and over again. To Her, who prayed, awaited, invoked and received the Holy Spirit, we ask to pray again, so that the Lord may grant us a new Effusion of the Spirit and we may fully respond to our vocation and mission, in the Church and in the world.
Finally heartfelt thankyou to those who were the instruments of the love and the thoughtfulness of God the Father towards us:
– to HE Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko who never left us without his paternal encouragement, both in private talks and in his most pleasant participation to our Conference a couple of years ago;
– to HE Mgr. Josef Clemens, thanks to whom the time for the approval was so short;
– to Mgr. Miguel Delgado and to Doctor Isabelle Cassarà, who always welcomed us with an availability and a graciousness that helped us to better understand the rationale for making the necessary amendments to our Statute;
– to HE Cardinal Urbano Navarrete, who helped us in the first steps, when we had no idea of what should be set down or not in our Statute.
To conclude my speech I will mention the other founding charism of our Community, which is evangelization, as I told before.
May this Acknowledgment will spur and help us in intensifying our work of evangelization, so that Risen Jesus may be known, loved, served and honoured more and more all over the world. Being a Community bearing His name, just because of that, now we pledge ourselves to live a continuous conversion, particularly in these testing times for the Church and for the Holy Father, to become holy “in the likeness of the Holy One who called us”.
Praise and Glory be to God, that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Deacon Paolo Serafini
President of the Risen Jesus Community