By Junno Arocho
VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2012 (Zenit.org).- On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI gathered with 50,000 members of the Italian charismatic movement 'Renewal in the Spirit' to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its founding. The celebration, which was held on the eve of Pentecost, took place in St. Peter’s Square.
An offspring of the charismatic renewal of the 1970’s, Renewal in the Spirit is comprised of of both lay and religious. The movement is actively involved in evangelization efforts, cultural and social events aimed at promoting a "culture of Pentecost." The statutes of their rule of life was approved on January 30, 2007 by the Italian Bishops Conference.
The pope expressed his joy and gratitude for the fruits the movement has produced.
"In these last decades – 40 years – you have made an effort to offer your specific contribution to the spreading of the Kingdom of God and to the building up of the Christian community, nourishing the communion with the Successor of Peter, with the Pastors of the whole Church," he said. "And you have sought to propose this experience to new generations, manifesting the joy of the new life in the Spirit, through a broad work of formation and multiple activities linked to the new evangelization and to the mission 'ad gentes' (to the nations)."
The pontiff concluded his address urging members of the movement to continue being credible witnesses of faith and expressed his pleasure at "proposing a spiritual animation together with initiatives on behalf of those who suffer from situations of poverty and marginalization."
"Do not tire of turning to heaven: the world needs prayer", the Holy Father urged. "It needs men and women who feel the attraction of heaven in their lives, who make the praise of the Lord a new way of life."