Integrated Community - what is that?
The Integrated Community is an apostolic association of lay people (married and unmarried ) and priests as understood by Vatican Council II. It is assigned to the respective local bishop and local Church. It participates in the proclamation work of the bishop.
At present it lives and works in the Dioceses of Munich and Freising, Paderborn, Augsburg, Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Morogoro/Tanzania, New York and Rome. A Community in Hungary is in the preparation stage. Church approval was given in 1978. For the Priests in the Service to Integrated Communities the Paderborn Archbishop Dr.Johannes Joachim Degenhardt established in 1982 a priests association connected to the Integrated Community.


How did it begin?

The Integrated Community came into being in 1968 after an early history of more than twenty years. The starting point were questions posed after the Second World War: What is deficient in our Church Swhen, in spite of the many millions of Baptized in Europe, Christians waged two world wars against each other in this century; when in spite of so many baptized Christians the Social Question which had arisen in over a hundred years could not be solved, so that death-bringing dictatorships and ideologies like Communism and National Socialism could arise and rule? What has our Church lost so that her faithful were not able to prevent the murder of the Jews in the Third Reich?



The "Spatzenhäusel" in Urfeld at lake Walchensee

The Integrated Community is the attempt at a lived answer to these gnawing questions. During the time of National Socialism its founders were members of the partially forbidden Catholic Youth leagues. After the war they found the courage and dared a new way:
Within the Catholic Church, but not in her traditional pastoral and administrative structures, they began to look for a new beginning in a way and form of its own.


Herzog-Heinrich-Strasse 18 in Munich, the
Integrated Communitys first Community-house


What does integrated mean?

The new beginning was carried by the shared celebration of the Churchs high feasts, above all the feast of Easter. Thereby it became ever clearer to the group that the shared celebration of the feasts calls for a together also in everyday life. Should the fellowship, celebrated and experienced at the feast, not also include and leave its stamp on daily life? But what form could it have for persons who do not live as unmarried women and men in convents and monasteries, but - with a wide variety of civic and common duties - in the midst of the world? So some persons began to link their lives with one another, for example by beginning to share looking after the children, living together or by taking up initiatives together in economic and business fields. The word integrated refers to this process of the mutual interweaving of their lives in all spheres. It means the solidarity of all Community members amongst each other towards the body of Christ, as St. Paul names the new Co-existence of the Baptized.


What is new about this form of life?

This form of life enables also people with families and careers to observe in a comprehensive way - together with the priests - the mandate of proclaiming the Gospel. This becomes possible through the mutual support and help of all, also in mastering daily life.
The differences in the life situations and possibilities of each individual person require that also the membership to the Community can take on quite different forms.
Yet also within this new form of life, which has continued to unfold in the course of decades, each person remains responsible for his or her own financial and property concerns, but, in concurrence with the Community, makes everything he or she can spare available for the missionary tasks (for example for the
Community in Tanzania)


What tasks does such a Community have?

According to its statutes the Integrated Community tries, in a world estranged from the Church,to make the Gospel present in such a form that also those who have no contact with the Church can again find access to the faith of the Catholic Church.
Accordingly one could also formulate: The Integrated Community is a -lived - example for the renewal of the Church, for her strength to gather people from out of dispersion and splits and to let them experience the transforming and redeeming effect of the sacraments. Families and singles, priests and lay people, persons of very differing social classes, nationalities and denominations let themselves be gathered to the Community.


What moves the Integrated Community?

Not human planning and ability produced it but the Spirit of God, promised to the Church, has set something new into motion for our time. Together with numerous friends, contributors and helpers, the Integrated Community hopes that in our world of the waning second millenium, increasingly no longer stamped by Christianity, the vision of the one, international People of God once more wins a new form and radiating strength in order to renew the face of the Church and the Earth.
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