Over the next couple of days, many thousands of communities around the world will celebrate Masses to mark the ninth anniversary of the death of Fr. Luigi Giussani.
In the early 1950’s in Italy the young priest Giussani was struck by the abyss that seemed to exist between faith (as understood by many people) and the person of Christ, real and present. Overwhelmed by this tragedy Giussani gave his life to helping people to understand that the effective method to personal encounter with Christ is found in human experience. It is not so much the searching person who encounters Christ, but it is Christ who encounters the seeker in the midst of their personal lived human experience.
Joseph Ratzinger and Luigi Giussani were priest contemporaries, both rigorous theologians, and friends. When Giussani was to be buried from the duomo in Milan on 24 February 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger (just a few weeks before he was elected pope) offered to preach the homily, as an envoy of the ailing John Paul II.