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
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
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.
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.