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All About Mary

Communion and Liberation

The Blessed Virgin in the Ecclesial Movement “Communion and Liberation”

– John Janaro, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Theology at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia.

Published in Marian Studies, Volume 54 (2003)

Communion and Liberation (CL) was founded in Milan, Italy, by Msgr. Luigi Giussani in 1954, as an initiative to provide an integral catechesis and an experience of common life for young people. It took initial form as a youth branch of the Italian “Catholic Action” organization in the years immediately prior to Vatican II. The original impetus of CL--the Gioventù Studentesca-- continues to be one of the more vital and impressive characteristics of the life of the movement today, especially in Italy, where one may witness thousands of energetic high school and university students organizing cultural events, participating in the Good Friday Way of the Cross and in pilgrimages and retreats. Giussani’s charism continues to attract young people. At the same time, over the course of fifty years, it has also blossomed into stable forms of adult commitment to the life and mission of the Church: the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation--a lay association of pontifical right; the Memores Domini--individuals in CL who dedicate themselves to God by the virtue which the Church calls “virginity”; the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo, recognized as a Society of Apostolic
Life; and the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Assumption, an autonomous religious institute of the consecrated life. In all, CL today has over 100,000 adherents throughout the world. Lay members are formed in the movement’s spirituality and participate in its various events and charitable works; they are not, however, separated from the parochial or diocesan context of the local church. While CL members are dedicated to an active participation in the life of their parishes and dioceses, they also seek to show the face of the Church in secular environments: at school, the workplace, and in various cultural centers.

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