The Emmanuel Community is a Catholic association of the faithful, of Pontifical right, founded in 1976 by Pierre Goursat and Martine Lafitte-Catta, starting from a prayer group, belonging to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
The Community consists of members with different states of life (families, singles, priests and celibate brothers and sisters) having the most different professions and trying to live a fraternal life in the world. It sees its aim as to respond to God's call to holiness addressed to each person, mainly through intense personal prayer, Eucharistic adoration, compassion for the spiritually and materially poor and evangelization. Members are helped to grow spiritually in various ways: "household meetings" (small groups of members, meeting regularly for prayer and reflection on God's action in their lives), "spiritual companionship" (personal meeting with a more experienced member), monthly meetings of all the members in a country or region.
The Emmanuel Community organizes (generally weekly) prayer groups in various cities around the world. It organizes international or national "sessions" (meetings of evangelization and Christian formation, tailor-made for various social and professional groups) as well as youth forums, in various locations. It has been entrusted with the task of animating various pilgrimage sites such as Paray-le-Monial and L'Île-Bouchard in France, Altötting in Germany and so on. Once bishops entrust a parish to a priest belonging to the Emmanuel Community, the members in the vicinity are themselves entrusted with animating and helping parish activities. The Community operates international, 9-month formation programs called Mission Schools in Paray-le-Monial, France, Rome, Italy, Altötting, Germany, and Manila, Philippines, as well as evangelization evening schools in various locations around the world. It also operates Fidesco,an NGO whose purpose is to send young professionals from the developed world on solidarity missions in underdeveloped countries.
In 2005, the Emmanuel Community had 7200 members in 64 countries on 5 continents. Among those, there were 200 priests, about 100 seminarians and 100 persons, male and female, living in consecrated celibacy. Internationally, the Community is led by a General Moderator (always a lay person), helped by an International Council, both elected for a 3-year mandate. The national sections ("provinces") of the Community are led by a national person-in-charge, nominated by the International Council.
Founded in 1981 by the Emmanuel Community following a meeting in the Vatican with African bishops, Fidesco is an NGO for international solidarity which sends volunteers to countries in the South to put their professional skills at the service of development projects, to help local populations or humanitarian actions.
Volunteers who leave with Fidesco are singles, couples or families, young people, adults or retired, wishing in the name of their faith to work for the marginalized: this explains the name of FIDES - CO : faith and co-operation.
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Fire and hope : Pierre Goursat, founder of the Emmanuel Community (translated by Michelle K. Borras). Paris : éditions de l'Emmanuel, 2005. 216 pp.-16 pp. de pl., 24 cm. ISBN 2-915313-40-7.