Pope Francis receives Emmanuel Community in audiency

On Saturday 7 April at 11am, the Emmanuel Community was received in audience at the Vatican by Pope Francis.

This audience took place at the end of the annual sacerdotal meeting of the priests of the Community during the Easter octave, the first meeting since the Clerical Association of the Emmanuel Community was established on August 15, 2017. 500 members of the Emmanuel Community were present at this audience, including 3 bishops, about 100 priests, about 10 deacons, about 30 consacrated (men and women), and more than 300 lay members, bachelors and families, with nearly 50 children, a beautiful assembly representative of the communion of states of life lived in the Emmanuel Community. All continents were represented with Emmanuel members from Indonesia, Australia, Canada, USA, Brazil, Peru, Rwanda, Cameroon, Benin, Germany, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Slovakia, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, France.

After the address of Laurent Landete, moderator of the Emmanuel Community and Fr. Henri-Marie Mottin (to be read below), the Pope read the following message. At the end of this message, the Pope personally greeted each of the 500 people present.

Pope Francis to the Emmanuel Community

April 7th, 2018

Dear Friends,

I am very happy to receive you during your annual meeting which is taking place in Rome this year. This pilgrimage is a sign of the full participation of the Emmanuel Community in the communion of the whole Catholic Church. It is also the occasion for me to thank you for your loyalty and your faithfulness to the Successor of Peter, to tell you of my appreciation of your current missionary commitment on all the continents, and to encourage you to persevere in the future.

This future is now marked by the recent recognition of the Clerical Association of the Emmanuel Community last August 15th, a structure made timely by the many priestly vocations that Emmanuel’s charism has inspired and by a more fruitful evangelization. Far from isolating the priests from the other members of the Community, both secular or committed in celibacy, I express the wish that this recognition will, on the contrary, encourage this beautiful communion of the states of life which you have had for more than 40 years in the complementarity of the various vocations. I also invite your Communities to stay even closer to the rich reality of the parish where they live and to willingly integrate into the organic pastoral life of the local Church (see Evangelii Gaudium §29).

The charism of the Emmanuel Community is embodied in its name, Emmanuel – God with us. It is in contemplating the mystery of the incarnation, especially in Eucharistic adoration, that you come to missionary dynamism in announcing the good news to all those to whom Jesus offers his friendship. I encourage you to share with the people of our time, wherever the Spirit sends you, the Mercy of God who has so loved us as to reside with us. This Mercy of the Lord, always present to His people, needs to be proposed with a new enthusiasm and through renewed pastoral action, so that it penetrates the hearts of people and encourages them to find their way back to the Father (see the Bull, Misericordiae Vultus §15) – that wherever your Community is present, the Mercy of the Father should become manifest, especially to the poorest – in heart or body – healing their wounds by the consolation of the Gospel, through solidarity and attentiveness (ibid.).

Dear friends, the Emmanuel Community has shown, since its origins, a real dynamism in announcing the Good News in a lively and joyful way. I urge you to remain rooted in Christ, trusting in the Holy Spirit, who comes to help us in our weakness and who heals us of all that weakens our missionary commitment – keeping in heart the strong desire of transmitting the joy of the Gospel to those who do not know it or who are far from it by becoming fully involved in this ‘Church in the making’ that I wish for. ‘The Church counts on you, on your faithfulness to the Word, on your availability for service and on your witness of lives transformed by the Holy Spirit’ (Pentecost Vigil, June 3, 2017).

I give thanks with you for all the progress you have made through the Holy Spirit who wants us to remain always on the journey. I invite you to listen to Him since there is no greater freedom than to be guided by the Spirit and to allow Him to enlighten and lead us wherever He wants.

I entrust you all to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, asking her to guide your steps and support your efforts. I give you a Blessing. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.

Address to His Holiness Pope Francis

From Laurent Landete, General Moderator of the Emmanuel Community
and Fr. Henri Marie Mottin, priest in charge of ordained ministers and seminarians

Laurent Landete

Holy Father, we are deeply grateful to you for agreeing to grant us this hearing. Our group is comprised of bishops, priests and lay people from the Emmanuel Community from Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Australia. The Emmanuel Community is an Association of the faithful, bringing together all states of life, in adoration, in the practice of charity and by evangelizing together. It was founded in 1972, in Paris, by Pierre Goursat, a lay man of prayer and an evangelist. He was a man of compassion, Pierre had bad health and lived poorly. At 58, he experienced the “Outpouring of the Spirit”. He discerned the urgent need to form a new generation of lay people and priests, witnesses to authentic communion for mission. He understood that clericalism, like the ambitions for power on the part of the laity, acted as a handicap for the evangelization of our modern societies. He used to say that: “the only way to God is humility.” He guided the Community to Paray le Monial, city of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was in Paray that he drew his missionary creativity, that led the Community to many original creations: in cooperation with poor countries and in difficult suburbs, toward couples, toward young people, in dialogue with modern culture, in the media and the cinema, in the academic world, and the world of work, in order to spread the Church’s social teaching there. He passed away on March 25, 199. His canonization process has begun.

Father Henri-Marie Mottin

Holy Father,

Pierre Goursat was consecrated in a celibacy for the kingdom. He perceived that God’s call for him was the humblest personal commitment possible, in the world. Nevertheless, he was able to accompany, through discernment, the first priestly vocations that were born from the earliest days of the Emmanuel Community. Some of those vocations are here, among us, today.

As the priest in charge of the ordained ministers and seminarians of the Emmanuel Community, I would like to evoke quickly some fundamental elements that animated Pierre Goursat’s vision of the priesthood: First of all, perseverance in the desire for holiness. Secondly, he perceived the danger of individualism in priestly life. Finally, he had a high esteem for gratuity in the Gift of self to God and to his brothers and sisters.

From the beginning, Pierre Goursat encouraged certain members of Emmanuel to live as permanent deacons. He recognized the strength of service as fundamental to community life. He liked to say that “we enter Emmanuel through the ‘Service Door!”. Most Holy Father, what great joy for us, priest of the Emmanuel Community to live a missionary Fraternity with so many families, consecrated brothers and sisters, lay people and young.

Last August 15, the Congregation for the Clergy established a clerical Association canonically linked to Emmanuel as a whole. This clerical Association brings together the priests, deacons and seminarians in the Emmanuel Community. This canonical recognition is for us an expression of the trust that the Church has placed in us, confirming the communion of states of life desired by our founder.

Laurent Landete

The date chosen for this hearing is providential: today, 7 April, is the 24th anniversary of the assassination of Cyprien and Daphrose Rugamba, with 6 of their children, during the tragedy of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. This couple, friends of the poor, who founded the Emmanuel ommunity in Rwanda, always refused to collaborate in the scandal of ethnic divisions. They witnessed to the enculturation of mercy in Africa and even gave their life for this. They remain a strong model for the reconciliation in Rwanda and beyond. Their canonization process is ongoing.

On this eve of the Feast of Mercy, we have come to renew the gift of ourselves to Christ, as well as our attachment to the Church and to Your person. We wish to “let ourselves be instructed” by your words, in order to receive the gift of a language that the poor might understand and which “comforts those who suffer…”(Is 50,4).

We would like to thank you for your urgent calls to go out to the peripheries and accompany all who suffer. Thank you for encouraging and supporting families. Thank you for your encyclical Laudato Si, which enlightens our praises and helps us question our lifestyle.

We entrust to your prayer our work of communion with our Orthodox and evangelical brothers, that will soon to be enlarged due to our contribution to the John 17 movement.

You can count on our joy in serving in the Shrine of the Trinita dei Monti that has been entrusted to us in the Diocese of Rome.

In asking for your apostolic blessing, we beseech the Lord to give us a new missionary fervor throughout all the various cultures of the world.

Most Holy Father, we entrust you to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary.