On July 8-10, 2019, the Catholic Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in the U.S. in Conversation convened their Third Gathering. It took place at the Lumen Christi Retreat Center in Schriever, Louisiana. A total of 27 participants, representing 15 different movements and the USCCB, came together to share and learn about our unique charisms and encourage one another in our mutual work of evangelization.
Bishop Sam Jacobs gave a brief history of the Conversation and our desire to grow in relationship and to work collaboratively to enlighten the U.S. bishops about the contributions the movements and new communities are making to the body of Christ. There were brief reports on the V Encuentro, the World Youth Day in Panama, as well as discussion of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, following the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment that took place in October 2018 in Rome.
The group was advised that Bishop Robert Barron, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, will present a Documentary Plan at the November 2019 USCCB meeting on how to confront the crisis of Catholic young people leaving the Church. Participants at the Gathering exchanged ideas on how their movements are working to support and engage young people, empower them for leadership, and instill a greater sense of belonging to the Church. The consensus was that doctrine and catechesis alone are not the answer to this crisis. The transmission of faith through personal witness and relationships, as we have experienced among the movements and new communities, play a significant role in gaining the hearts of young people for Jesus.
– The Gathering decided to send a letter to Bishop Barron, as well as to Archbishop Charles Chaput, chair of USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, suggesting that any follow-up to the Synod on Youth include a strong emphasis on developing relationships and a sense of love and belonging among young people. *
– Bishop Jacobs will continue to pursue a request to add a representative from the Conversation to serve as a consultant to either the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage and Family Life and Youth, or the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, to represent the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in Conversation. **
– The Conversation will draft a letter to all U.S. bishops, encouraging interaction with the movements and new communities in their dioceses. This would include an overview of diocesan committees, involving the movements, that are already in place in the archdioceses of Chicago, New York, and Washington.
– Participants affirmed the value of including young adults in future gatherings of the Conversation.
– Participants were asked to raise awareness of the Conversation’s website and Facebook page as a way to post updates on major events, request prayers, and continue to stay connected through relationships.
* Note: the mentioned letter was sent on October 1st, 2019 to Bishop Robert Barron, and to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who became at the USCCB Assembly of November 2019, the new chair of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
** Responding to this request, Archbishop Cordileone requested Bishop Jacobs the name of three candidates to represent MovComUS at the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. The three suggested were Walter Matthews -Charismatic Renewal-, Emanuele Contini -Neocatechumenal Way-, and Enrique Soros -Schoenstatt Movement-. Archbishop Cordileone invited Enrique Soros to represent MovComUS at the committee.