Ireland - Encounters

Here Eternity
Entered History


A public meeting on the pilgrimage made by the Pope
to the Holy Land. The impressions of the Israeli
Ambassador and the report of a journalist.
An occasion to explain what the Movement is


By Raffaella Sorensen


“The visit of the Pope to the Holy Land was one of the most significant events in the history of Israel.” These were the opening words of Mark Sofer, the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, at a public meeting on the significance of the pilgrimage made by Pope John Paul II to the Holy Land. The meeting, organized by Communion and Liberation and entitled, “Here Eternity Entered History,” was held in a crowded conference room at the headquarters of the prestigious Institute of Public Administration in Dublin. Ambassadors, journalists, priests, and people from all walks of life were in attendance.
It all began some weeks before with our reaction to Fr. Giussani’s letter to la Repubblica in which he spoke of the significance of the Pope’s request for forgiveness for the sins committed by Christians; at the same time we were struck by the way in which the media allowed the Pope’s visit to pass almost unnoticed, and seemed to downplay the importance of his gestures in the Holy Land. We wished to bring these things to public notice, above all for ourselves in order to increase our own awareness of the importance of what was happening, and also to provoke a reaction in as many people as possible.
The Israeli Ambassador, who was the first to speak, said that he had been moved to the point of tears by the visit of John Paul II. “The Pope,” he said, “gave us strength and encouragement with his presence and gave us hope for peace. This visit is of epochal importance–for us if not for him.” Mr. Sofer also underlined the fact that the Pope was the only visitor able to speak to all of Israel, to those in Palestinian territory, in Jordan, in Egypt, “and who struck a chord in all of us and made us happy, even if the journalists did not register this.”
Aura Miguel, a Portuguese journalist who had accompanied the Pope on this and on many other journeys, spoke after the Ambassador. Aura went over the different stages of the Pope’s personal pilgrimage. All were deeply affected by the profound humanity of John Paul II as revealed by Aura.
The meeting was also the occasion for us to present the experience of Communion and Liberation. All present were given a copy of Traces and a brief introduction to our Movement. As the most fitting and meaningful conclusion to what we had all heard that evening, we then read Fr. Giussani’s letter on the Pope’s request for forgiveness. At the end of the meeting we were struck by the reactions of those present. People were moved and grateful. Many asked why we didn’t organize other similar evenings, and others said, “You should let people know who you are.” We were also struck by the way in which a “judgment” stimulated in us by the Movement has the capacity to generate such encounters. The Belgian Ambassador, perfectly understanding the significance of the evening, said that we had taken a risk in reading Fr. Giussani’s letter and that we had declared ourselves for what we are. He added that people should always do this, as it constitutes an act of love toward others.