Davide Prosperi (Photo: Pino Franchino)

Prosperi: "To be sons and daughters of Fr. Giussani we must first of all be and conceive of ourselves as sons and daughters of the Church"

Initial greeting from Davide Prosperi, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, at the Mass for the centenary of the birth of Fr. Giussani Milan Duomo, February 28, 2022.

Your Excellency,

We thank you for having welcomed us here, in this cathedral that is the religious icon of our city.
We are passing through a time of uncertainties and fear, in addition to the suffering of the people directly involved in the war underway in the territories of the Ukraine. For this reason, the current anniversary is also an opportunity to come together and pray that soon the light of peace will shine again where the dark shadow of the horror of war is now spreading.
This month of February, with the Masses that are taking place in many dioceses around the world on the anniversary of the death of Fr. Giussani, opens the celebrations of the centenary of his birth, which will culminate with the audience that the Holy Father has granted us scheduled on October 15, 2022. In this journey that has just begun, today’s Eucharistic celebration, which finds us gathered around the Archbishop of Milan, takes on a unique meaning.

Fr. Giussani was, in fact, born on this Lombardian soil of, fruitful in holiness and deeply marked by faith. The movement of Communion and Liberation was born in this city and in this diocese, from the passion for Christ that burned in Fr. Giussani’s heart. A large part of the members of the Movement, which has now spread throughout the world, are children of the Church of Milan and actively participate in her life. Most of the houses of the Memores Domini, of which Fr. Giussani is the founder, are here. The monks of Cascinazza, which Fr. Giussani considered as a heart of prayer for the whole movement, are here. The mother house of the Sisters of Charity of the Assumption, who recognize Fr. Giussani as their co-founder, are here.

Fr. Giussani’s death was on February 22, 2005, and we all remember the moving experience of his funeral, presided over by then Cardinal Ratzinger here in our cathedral.
Since that time, for sixteen years, the movement born through Fr. Giussani has been led by Fr. Julián Carrón, with whom I worked as a close collaborator for a long time. Fr. Julián took up the complex legacy of our founder, taking over the leadership of the CL Fraternity and the Memores Domini, and leading the whole movement with great dedication. Julián invited us to deepen our awareness of our faith that we might adhere to the event of Christ present in an increasingly free and personal way. I take this moment to greet him on behalf of us all and to thank him in advance for the words he has agreed to address to us at the end of the celebration. His are much awaited words, which I hope will help us to live the developments and decisions that we will be called upon to make in the coming months with greater serenity.

Undoubtedly, like every human history, the ongoing initiative that is the Movement has been marked by our limitations and our sin, from which no one is spared. We are reassured, therefore, that the greatness of our history does not lie first of all in our human enterprises, however significant they may be. Our history is dear to us because it speaks to us of the grace of faith, and of the love for Christ and for the Church that we have received through the witness and education of Fr. Giussani.
We are grateful to God for what we have lived, and it is this gratitude, Your Excellency, that I wish to present to you this evening on behalf of all.

But that is not all. Today, we come here without hiding our wounds and our struggles. Many of us–and I am referring in particular to this community, here in Milan and Lombardy–were caught by surprise by the Holy See’s decisions that affected first the Memores Domini and then the Fraternity of CL, together with all the major ecclesial movements and associations. We cannot hide that there are tensions among us, conflicting judgments about our recent past, and differing positions regarding the Holy Father’s intervention. This is a delicate time, and I must confess that the task entrusted to me at the service of the unity of the movement often causes me to be exhausted by the time evening comes. I am happy, however, to be able to contribute to the good of our communities, supported by friends and collaborators, as well as by many people who wish to continue the journey with simplicity and obedience. I would like to take my chance to encourage everyone and to help those in doubt to find peace. What unites us is indeed deeper and truer than any possible divergence.

The Church has recognized that we were born from a good root and has repeatedly confirmed us, in different ways, through the voices of the last Pontiffs, from St. Paul VI to Francis. Today, this same Church is strongly asking that we take a new step of maturity, and we wish to respond with cordiality and affection.
For my part, I feel that my first task now is to nurture that “obedience to the authority of the Church and in particular to the authority of the Pope” through which each of us can find the “ultimate and definitive guarantee” of our path in following Christ, as Cardinal Angelo De Donatis asked of us when he opened the celebrations for the centenary of Fr. Giussani in the Basilica of St. John Lateran a few days ago (February 20, 2022). To obey Christ means to obey the Church. To be sons and daughters of Fr. Giussani at this moment, we must first of all be and conceive of ourselves as sons and daughters of the Church.

And so, tonight I humbly ask your help, also entrusting to your fatherly care this community of ours, which belongs to the Church entrusted to you. I thank you for the comfort of your prayer in this Mass, which we wish to offer for harmony and unity within our diocesan community.