Fraternity of Communion and Liberation
ALSO KNOWN AS
Communion and Liberation
In the mid-1950s, Rev. Luigi Giussani, a diocesan priest from Milan, began teaching religion in a state high school in Milan. When speaking with some young people, he realised that Christianity for them was now only a distant tradition. He then started an initiative of faith education in schools, first as head of ‘Student Youth’ (a branch of Ambrosian Catholic Action), then by accompanying university students who would form CL during the protests of nineteen-sixty-eight. In the 1970s, the first fraternity groups were established, made up of young people who wanted to deepen their faith in adult life. The Fraternity of Communion and Liberation was created through their presence in various countries. In 1980 it received canonical recognition from the Abbot of Montecassino, Msgr Martino Matronola. On 11 February 1982 it was recognised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity as an international association of the faithful.
The aim of CL is that each person should be educated in the elementary aspects of Christianity so that they can discover its relevance to their ultimate needs. The core focus is an awareness that Christianity is not a set of moral precepts or a fact of the past, but rather the event of an encounter with Christ that makes the Christian life contemporary through the engaging lifestyles of those who follow it. The CL educational journey is to accompany a person’s deepening insights into this encounter. It is grounded in contexts of daily commitment (workplaces, schools, universities) and it is nourished by participation in the life of the Church. It develops around the dimensions of Christian experience, which is culture, as a measure of the consistency of faith in the circumstances of life; charitable action, learning to share in felt needs and to live like Christ; mission, as a call to the universal and unconditional openness of being a Christian.
Members of the Fraternity are men and women of all conditions and states who find in CL their path to holiness in service to the Church. They can form groups where their friendship and communion in journeying together are in closer proximity. The leadership of the association is entrusted to the President and the Central Diakonia. It is made up of the international leaders, those responsible for the various areas of presence and representatives of the entities that have emerged from the CL charism (the Lay Association Memores Domini; the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St Charles Borromeo; the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Assumption). In the dioceses, the diocesan leader is assisted by a diakonia and a spiritual assistant appointed by the local bishop acting on a proposal by the Fraternity President. Since 1997, the International Centre of Communion and Liberation has been working in Rome to facilitate the service of the Fraternity to the Pope and the universal Church.
There are several practices that are tools in faith education: School of Community (catechesis with personal reading and community sharing of a text suggested to the movement), Charity (time given to the service of those in need), the Common Fund (free contribution to the movement to support its activities). These are accompanied by an annual course of Spiritual Exercises and retreats in Advent and Lent. Each person or group can organise initiatives that are open to all. These sometimes become popular practices, as in the case of the Stations of the Cross in dozens of cities in the USA, or walking pilgrimages in Macerata-Loreto and Krakow-Czestochowa. Members of the Fraternity individually set up activities in the most diverse fields (from charity to social life, from education to culture) in Italy and other countries. They set up associations, charitable entities, foundations, schools, cooperatives, non-governmental organisations, businesses, cultural events, hospitality communities, training centres and venues for social integration. The Fraternity established the Sacro Cuore Foundation in Milan, a school founded by Don Giussani as an example of a Christian education programme. The Fraternity appoints the majority of the members of the Board of Directors.
Tracce - Litterae Communionis, a monthly magazine published digitally and in print in Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Via Giuseppe De Notaris n.50 - 20128 Milano
Tel 02 66595088 - Fax 02 66594670
Centro Internazionale di Comunione e Liberazione
Via Marcello Malpighi, 2 - 00161 Roma
Tel. [+39]06 44252752 - Fax 06 44252544