Saturday, February 22, 2020

Remembering Luigi Giussani

Today is the 15th anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Msgr. Luigi Giussani. It is very beautiful that this great priest died on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, in light of his remarkable devotion to Peter's successors.

His longtime friend, Saint John Paul II, would go to join him in eternal life a month and a half later.

But before that, the ailing Pope sent his personal representative to celebrate the funeral of this great “teacher of humanity,” a Cardinal who once said, "Fr Giussani changed my life." Within two months, that Cardinal became Pope Benedict XVI.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world from Rome, another Cardinal helped present his own country’s first editions of some of Giussani’s books, saying “He has helped me to appreciate and live more deeply my own priesthood.”

Seven years ago, as this Cardinal prepared to retire after a lifetime of intense service to the Church, planning to reside in and become chaplain of an elder care home, he received an unexpected call from Rome for one final service. A conclave.

But it turned out to be rather a longer task. On March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis.

But Giussani did more than inspire the Popes of our time. He taught thousands of ordinary people in Italy and all over the world. One of those people is me, even if I have been one of the more distracted of his students. Still, insofar as I have anything worthwhile to communicate, the credit must go first of all to the two men in the first picture who taught me and showed me how to stay with Jesus.

My dear friends of the CL Movement: it is distance and distraction that keep me from seeing you more often, but it is also illness and my debilitating condition. I miss you all, but hold you close in my heart and prayers.