"Signs of the Spirit" Congress Gets Papal Praise

Event Opens Friday

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI voiced support for an international congress that is being promoted by the Renewal in the Spirit movement in Italy.



"The last century, sprinkled by sad pages of history, is at the same time full of wonderful testimonies of spiritual and charismatic awakening in every realm of human life," the Pope said Wednesday, referring to the themes to be addressed by the congress.

The theme of the congress is "The Signs of the Spirit in the 20th Century. A Historical Rereading: The Witnesses' Account." The event takes place this Friday through Sunday in Lucca.

"For these reasons, I congratulate the national coordinator of Renewal in the Spirit for having promoted this significant meeting," said the Holy Father.

"I hope the Holy Spirit will meet with an ever more fruitful reception in the hearts of believers and that the 'culture of Pentecost' will spread, so necessary in our time," Benedict XVI concluded before taking leave of the 30,000 people who attended the general audience in St. Peter's Square.

Rereading

Salvatore Martinez, national coordinator of Renewal in the Spirit, presented this initiative Tuesday at the headquarters of Vatican Radio.

The congress, he said, will be a "rereading in a spiritual vein of the century which has just ended" and at the same time "an act of honor to the Holy Spirit who always makes good fruitful."

It will be possible to follow the congress's debates live on Internet at www.lucca2005.org.

The congress will be attended by cardinals, bishops and secretaries of the last four Popes, as well as founders or representatives of Catholic movements and associations. Representatives from the cultural, scientific, economic and political realm will also attend.

The initiative was promoted by Renewal in the Spirit, the Archdiocese of Lucca and the Congregation of Oblates of the Holy Spirit, together with the municipality of Lucca, the Focolare Movement and the Community of Sant'Egidio, under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the National Service for the Cultural Project of the Italian bishops' conference and the Senate of the Italian republic.