Monsignor Mario Delpini signs the documents for the opening of the Testimonial Phase. On his right, Monsignor Ennio Apeciti (Photo: Pino Franchino/Fraternity CL)

Fr. Giussani: The fascination of the charism

The opening of the testimonial phase of the Cause of Beatification of the founder of CL. The words of the Archbishop of Milan, Monsignor Mario Delpini, and the greeting of Davide Prosperi. Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, May 9, 2024.
Mario Delpini*

How fascinating is a charism within the Church. The fascination of a charism is that particular fervour, that intensity not previously experienced of seeing a spark of the Glory of God shining in ordinary events.

How fascinating is a charism. Things we have heard before suddenly seem to become a revelation. Habitual practices taken on by a charism become an enthusiasm, and people feel that those words, that attitude, that way of behaving interpret the deepest truth, awakening within each person a new life, a new simplicity, a new identification.

How fascinating is a charism. Those of you here and all those who have encountered Fr. Luigi's charism must – as I see it– give thanks for this. Because, in its ancient truth, the Church has received this new splendour; because the personal journey, within its usual experience, has awakened to a joy, to a gratitude, to an ability to face life that has something wonderful about it.

This is the fascination of the charism. And, therefore, I want to wish this to all those who have encountered the charism of Fr. Giussani: that by preserving this gratitude and this joy they may form one heart and one soul. In the history of a movement – a movement so numerous, which has established itself in so many experiences of life and in so many places in the world – it can always happen that diverging interpretations arise, that relationships between people can become tense. This can happen, but now that the Church is committed to promoting this Phase of the verification process for the Beatification, it seems to me that this is the moment for all those who have recognized Fr. Luigi as an original and fascinating interpreter of Christian life to say to each other: "OK, now let us forget about our differences, what distances us, what has sometimes made our relationships difficult... let us forget about it, let us go together, let us revive what is essential." So, let this celebration, let this beginning of the process be an invitation to recognize the joy of what the Lord has given us through Fr. Luigi.
A charism is fascinating and can allow us to move beyond any partial vision, attitudes perhaps of incomprehension.

And how new a charism is: the gift of the Spirit introduces into the Church something that time needs. And the novelty of the charism sometimes enters the history of a Church with a strength and ardour that can also cause bewilderment, discomfort all around. While those who follow this charism feel enthusiastic and sometimes run the risk of feeling better, a kind of unease is then felt, as if it causes uproar and can even create opposition. This has also been the case within the history of Communion and Liberation, of everything that has marked our time, especially our diocese, our country. A new charism, a passionate ardour, which naturally also encountered thorny situations, provocative attitudes. But now, as we begin this testimonial process, we do not want to list the factors that have generated discomfort or tension among us. The fact that the Church decided, that I, on behalf of the Church, should initiate this process says that 'we are entering a new phase', a phase in which beauty can be appreciated, even if it does not always correspond to expectations, in which even relations with the various other associations, movements, institutions, can be understood as a grace that has been received, even if it has required a settling-in phase that has not lacked difficulties.

And that is what I would like to wish you all: that by initiating this process, all the adherents of Communion and Liberation, and all the other forms in which this charism has become history, may feel united, and that our whole Church feel called to give thanks to the Lord for the good that has been done, and also to overcome those hardships that perhaps, at times, have been suffered bitterly. United in giving thanks to the Lord for what we have received. And therefore willing to overcome what has created tension, discomfort, perhaps forms of opposition to overcome.

We want to welcome this grace, to feel that joy prevails over all doubts, that communion, that fraternity, that charity brings together everything that has had difficulty converging. We want to give thanks to the Lord because Fr. Giussani's charism has done so much good for so many people. We want to give thanks to the Lord because the decision to start this process requires a commitment by all the ecclesial actors to find a superior point of unity. Thus we thank the Lord.

And I want to wholeheartedly thank Fr. Ennio, his collaborators, and all those who have brought us this far. Twelve years is a long time. It has been a period of complicated, intense, and above all quantitatively demanding work. So now I must express my gratitude for what has been done and encourage this Phase that we are opening today and which looks so promising.

May the Lord bring us together, unite us in one heart, one soul, bless those who are called to form this Tribunal and bless us all.

*Archbishop of Milan

The greeting of Davide Prosperi, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation
Your Most Reverend Excellency, on behalf of the entire movement of Communion and Liberation and, if I may, also on behalf of all those who are here out of gratitude and affection for the person of Fr. Giussani, I would like to express to you at this moment two words, and that word is 'thank you'. Thank you for having taken the decision to begin this new Phase of the process and thank you for having gathered us here together to experience this moment.
I, therefore, thank you first of all, Your Excellency, and also Monsignor Apeciti, the postulator Chiara Minelli and all those who have contributed and will contribute from now on to the Cause, which will continue in the time God wills. Today we become, if possible, even a little more aware of the great gift that the encounter with Fr. Giussani and his charism has been and is for each one of us, and of the enormous task entrusted to us for the glory of Christ in the world and of His one body that is the Church.
Thank you.