St. Peter's Square was brimming with pilgrims for Pentecost, 1998. The Holy Father John Paul II had invited members for the Church's new Movements and Ecclesial Communities to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. There he encouraged all of these groups to work together for the Church at all levels.
As a concrete fruit and continuation of this encounter, The Council of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities of the Archdiocese of New York was formed. Our first activity was to celebrate Pentecost of the Jubilee Year together at St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie. This encounter was called "One Spirit at Work."
The Council aims to be an instrument to promote ways for the members of the different communities to know each other's charisms, apostolates, and spiritualities, in order to work together more effectively for the Church in our Archdiocese. The ecclesial movements and new communities contain a precious evangelizing potential urgently needed by the Church today. Yet their richness has not yet been fully recognised or valued. Servant of God John Paul II put it this way: “ Often in today’s world, which is dominated by a secular culture that proposes models of life without God, the faith of many is greatly tested and often suffocated and put out. Therefore there is an urgent need for a strong testimony and a Christian formation that is solid and deep. What a great need there is today for mature Christian personalities who are aware of their baptismal identity, of their call and mission in the Church and in the world! This is where the ecclesial movements and new communities appear; they are the answer which has been raised up by the Holy Spirit to this dramatic challenge at the end of the millennium. You are this providential answer!” (L’Osservatore Romano, June 5, 1998).
The Holy Father. Pope Benedict, continues to proclaim the urgency of a new evangelization today. Lay movements and new communities are vital for this mission.