Monday, November 17, 2014
On November 16, 1965, forty bishops participating in the Second Vatican Council met in the Domitilla Catacombs outside Rome for a celebration of the Eucharist. On that occasion they drew up and signed a document called the “Pact of the Catacombs”, which expressed their personal commitments as bishops to live a poor lifestyle and to relaunch a “servant and poor” Church. Today Pope Francis again called everyone to the centrality of a “Church that is poor for the poor.” In fact, only a poor Church can walk with the poor, becoming the voice of their denied rights. Fifty years after the Pact of the Catacombs, a large number of religious and lay people met yesterday, Sunday 16 November, in the Catacombs, to celebrate and to commemorate this great ecclesial event.

 

Today
Pope Francis
again called everyone
to the centrality of a
“Church that is poor for the poor.”
In fact, only a poor Church
can walk with the poor,
becoming the voice
of their denied rights.

 

As the Second Vatican Council drew to a close, on November 16, 1965, forty council bishops met in the Domitilla Catacombs outside Rome for a celebration of the Eucharist and gave birth to a document which marked an important stage in the life of the Church.

In the text, called the “Pact of the Domitilla Catacombs,” the bishops undertook to live a poor lifestyle and to relaunch a “servant and poor” Church. The document, with an uncommon clarity, touched the most pressing issues of the moment that are still actual today, though they are lacking the more recent approaches such as the ecology and the globalization of war and terrorism.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event and the document, on the invitation of the heads of the Justice and Peace department of the religious Institutes, dozens of religious and committed Christians met in the Domitilla Catacombs to a two hour-long liturgical celebration. In an atmosphere of prayer and reflection, the Pact was read in front of everyone and then taken up in small groups which, in their own different languages, deepened it and presented a few concrete suggestions to be implemented in the religious communities of those present.

The organizers expressed their satisfaction and recognized that the response and the turnout was much larger than they had expected.


A Carmelite missionary and the Comboni missionary Fr. Angel Irigoyen Lafita.