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2010-01-19

VATICAN - International Center for Missionary Animation reopens: Cardinal Dias dedicates CIAM to Blessed Fr. Paolo Manna

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - On January 16, 2010, the birthday of Blessed Fr. Paolo Manna (1872-1952), a PIME missionary and founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union, the International Center for Missionary Animation (CIAM) re-opened, after a substantial restructuring effort. This occasion provided an opportunity to rethink and restate the purpose of CIAM, future planning, and place it in the context of spirituality and activities of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS). The reopening ceremony was attended by those working in international secretariats of the four Pontifical Mission Societies. The President of the POM, Archbishop Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, could not participate for health reasons.
After the prayers said in the restored chapel, led by Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU) and Director of CIAM, Fr. Vito Del Prete, PIME, in the conference hall the talks in the program unfolded. Monsignor Silvano Rossi, head of the PMS Administration and the restructuring of CIAM, explained the work done and mentioned CIAM's benefactors from its beginnings, especially the National Office of the PMS of the United States of America and Cardinal Agnelo Rossi. After stating that 80% of the works were on the consolidation of the structure, Msgr. Rossi said that the intent of the restructuring the interior is directed primarily at making CIAM a "house for all people who seek God" a "missionary home."
The National Director of the PMS in the USA, Msgr. John E. Kozar, remembered the figure of his predecessor and former head of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the United States, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, one of the benefactors of CIAM, whose statue stands at the main entrance. As he recalled, in particular, the great work of evangelization carried out through the media, which serves even today as an example for the role of the PMS in the USA, in missionary animation.
As for the purpose and planning of CIAM, Fr. Vito Del Prete recalled the "special training" that takes place at the Center, organizing study and meeting programs for bishops, spiritual assistants, formators, and priests priests, as a "missionary laboratory." The specific purpose of training work will be "the meeting between the old and new Churches," seeking "dialogue and establishing a relationship," and emphasizing the collaboration with the PMU.
The Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Fr. Timothy Lehane, SVD, and from the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle, Msgr. Jan Dumon, further disclosed in their speeches the work done in the past year and their experiences when traveling abroad, where they experienced the need for the presence of the PMS and the mutual gain from the encounter with the younger Churches. The work of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood Association (also known as Missionary Childhood) was illustrated by Dr. J. Baptistine Ralamboarison, who emphasized that the work "is not only social work, but most especially includes the promotion of missionary awareness among children."
The celebration of the consecration of the chapel and the dedication of the altar was presided by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Ivan Dias. Among the concelebrants was also the Superior General of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), Fr. Gianbattista Zanchi, who handed over the relics of Blessed Fr. Paolo Manna, which were inserted into the altar. In his homily, the Cardinal recalled how, in his missionary life Fr. Manna followed the examples of both the Patrons of Missions: first, in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier, leaving to be a missionary in Burma (Myanmar), and then the "Little Way" of St. Therese of Lisieux, having to return for reasons of health. The Cardinal dedicated the entire Center for Missionary Animation to the founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union. (MS) (Agenzia Fides 19/01/2010)

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