The Emmanuel Community was founded in Paris, France, by Pierre Goursat (1914-1991) and Martine Laffitte-Catta based on the experience of a Charismatic Renewal prayer group. It was originally only for lay people, both single and married, but today its membership includes priests and consecrated lay persons who have matured their vocation through their experience within the Community. In 1975, the establishment of the Community at Paray-le-Monial, where the apparitions of the Sacred Heart took place, marked a major milestone in its history and the beginning of its spread worldwide. Since the 1990s an increasing number of bishops have been entrusting parish missions and parish animation to the Community, turning them into real centres of fraternal life and evangelisation. The association is a member of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships. On December 1992 the Pontifical Council for the Laity issued a decree recognising the Communauté de l’Emmanuel as an international association of the faithful of Pontifical Right.
The Emmanuel Community is named after the passage from Scripture, "Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel" (Is 7: 14; cf. Mt 1: 23), and its members are people who are called by God to live together to serve and proclaim Jesus Christ. The core of the Community is the Jesus Fraternity, which is made up of members who give themselves to the Lord in consecration and total devotion to the mission. The life of the Community and its members, who are worshippers living in the heart of the world, revolves around the Eucharist. This roots all their actions in contemplation and opens them up to the compassion of Christ and so leads them to place themselves at the service of the poor, the sick, the lonely and the marginalised; and at the service of evangelisation, to announce the risen Christ to all people who are suffering because they do not know God and do not know that they are loved by God. The preparation offered to the members of the Community who are called to be missionaries, primarily in their own environment, gives priority to the spiritual dimension and formation for community life and evangelisation.
The Emmanuel Community is governed by a Moderator, assisted by an International Council whose members are elected for a three-year term, which may be renewed for a maximum of two consecutive terms, from among the members of the Community and the consecrated members of the Jesus Fraternity. Before a person enters the Community there is a probationary period (postulancy and noviciate) for about two years. Once these stages have been completed the members renew their commitment every year. The members of the Jesus Fraternity are consecrated for life. People supporting the Community with their prayers, cooperation and financial assistance are members of the Emmanuel Family.
The Emmanuel Community has about 6,000 members (including 130 priests, 180 consecrated sisters and 15 consecrated brothers) in 50 countries as follows: Africa (18), Asia (6), Europe (17), Middle East (1), North America (4), Oceania (1), and South America (3). 200,000 people regularly take part in its work.
The Community also created the following: Emmanuel Youth, for the apostolate among young people; Love and Truth, for the apostolate among families, engaged couples and lone parents; Presence and Witness, for the apostolate among people committed in various spheres of social life; Fidesco, for the mission ad gentes and to support development projects; Magnificat, for the apostolate in the world of culture and the arts; SOS Prayer (a 24-hour telephone listening and prayer service); Tiberiade, to care for AIDS sufferers and their families; schools of evangelisation in France, Germany and Italy; the "Emmanuel" and "Merciful Jesus" Centres in Rwanda (retreats, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reconciliation, peace education); hostels for students; hostels in France, Germany and Portugal; prayer groups worldwide; the publisher, Les Editions de l’Emmanuel. The Community also runs pilgrimages to Paray-le-Monial and summer religious education sessions attended by 20,000 people every year.
He is Alive! - monthly magazine.
Communauté de l’Emmanuel
Péniche Mont Thabor
BP 104 - 92203 Neuilly-sur-Seine - France
Tel. [+33]1.47459630 - Fax 1.47459631