A place, created by God, an unfathomable mystery

The long way from the youth movement to the renewed Parish-Community
The Catholic Integrated Community celebrated Fifty years on its way
by Guido Horst
Article in Die Tagespost, October 21, 1999
FRASCATI (DT) Whoever wants to celebrate a feast with the Catholic Integrated Community will need to take some time over it in line with the meaning of the biblical words: Come and see. This is what the many hundreds of persons learned when, a few days ago, they had come together in Frascati, Italy, to celebrate a feast.
Catholic Integrated Community fifty years on its way or the long way from the youth movement to the renewed parish-community this provided the cause for the celebrations. Amongst those who stood at the beginning of that way, which a small group of young Catholics began from the spiritual and material ruins of Hitler-Germany into an as yet unknown future, was Traudl Wallbrecher, Chairperson of the coordinating team of all Catholic Integrated Communities as it says in the Church approved statutes. And whoever follows one of her invitations will not witness the usual Catholic weekend with meditative séances and rosehip tea. Instead he will meet with people who, in a new understanding of what the communities of Christians were in apostolic times, probe uncommonly deep into the roots of the faith.


Villa Cavalletti at the foot of the Albano mountains
The fascination of an invitation

The Albano Mountains near Rome in beautiful October weather. Just outside Frascati there is the Villa Cavalletti, once a summer residence of the Jesuits and for a few years now owned by the Integrated Community. Here members and guests of the fellowship came together to celebrate the feast. Bishop Giuseppe Matarrese of Frascati, in whose cathedral the festive mass was held, did not miss the opportunity of personally welcoming the colourful assembly; it does not happen too often that his cathedral fills with so many people from all sorts of countries: not only had they come from Germany and Italy, but also from Hungary, Austria, Tanzania, the United States and Israel which gives a rough outline of the scope of the Integrated Communitys activity. Yet more about that later.


The garden of the Villa Cavalletti during the feast
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Johannes Joachim Degenhardt as well as Bishop Christopher Mwoleka from Rulenge in Tanzania celebrated Mass together with their Frascati brother in the episcopal office. As a young theologian Degenhardt had been a witness at the wedding when in 1949 Traudl Weiß married the solicitor Herbert Wallbrecher in Hagen, Westphalia. The mass was also held in his memory. Until his death in 1997 Herbert Wallbrecher had an essential share in the Integrated Communitys free development within the Church, independent from funding through Church tax.
As a welcome the choir of the Integrated Community, conducted by Peter Schneider, sang Locus iste by Anton Bruckner: This is a place, created by God, an unfathomable mystery, incomprehensible.
In his homily about the gospel of the wedding banquet where the kings invitation was declined, Cardinal Ratzinger said: The King wants to give a wedding and invites us to it, he draws us into it. 50 years ago the fascination of this invitation and with it a spark of joy fell into the hearts of the first ones of you; a spark of hope which became a mandate and brought you on your way towards this feast of God. The Integrated Community has grown out of it which doesnt want to and shall not be anything else but companionship on the way, in the larger companionship of the Church on her way to the kingdom of God, to the Sonss wedding.

Bishop Matarrese, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Johannes-Joachim Degenhardt
at the reception in the Villa Cavalletti
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