RŚŻ (Ruch Światło-Życie)
ALSO KNOWN AS
Light and Life
The beginnings of Light and Life go back to the 1950s when, under the guidance of Fr Franciszek Blachnicki (1921-1987) the experience of the so-called Oases was started in the dioceses of Katowice, in Poland, as 15-day spiritual retreats for teenagers. Between 1963 and 1973, when Light and Life worked mainly in the field of the religious instruction of young people, the Movement further clarified its character by making its specific field of action the implementation of the renewal brought about by Vatican II. Founded on the Word of God and on the liturgy, the key ideas of Light-Life, new person, new community, new culture emerged. After the 1970s, in addition to teenagers, the movement began to organise retreats for students, workers, priests, religious, seminarians and in particular families, who, set up as a community, were to take the name of "domestic Church". On 11 July 1973 the Archbishop of Krakow at the time, Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II, consecrated the Light-Life Movement to the Immaculate Conception of our Lady, Mother of the Church, which marked its official foundation.
Light and Life sets out to foster growth in the faith of its members; to build up communio through evangelisation and religious instruction; to develop works to transform the world according to the spirit of the Gospel; to build up the parish as a "community of communities". The purposes, programme and pedagogical method of the Movement are expressed and defined in terms of the unity between the light shed by God, and action: namely, the unity of known truths, and as such, recognised, declared and acted upon. The formation process of the members (deuterocatechumenate) is a gradual one, beginning with an individual evangelisation retreat or a basic retreat, to lead the person to welcome Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour (New Life Oasis, level I), and to enter the group of Christ’s disciples. The first stage of the deuterocatechumenate is based on 10 points, which are called the "Indicators of the New Person", and prepares them for participation in the New Life Oasis, level II. Liturgical initiation that begins during these retreats continues in the second stage of the course, which is significantly characterised by participation in the Easter Triduum and by the renewal of the baptismal covenant. The third stage - mystagogy - (New Life Oasis, level III) focuses on deepening the meaning of belonging to the people of God, helping them to discover their own place in the Church, and to place themselves at the service of the various diakonie. The course also includes systematic daily work (self education), weekly meetings in small groups led by an animator, and attending Communion Days. The course for married couples, the purpose of which is mutual sanctification and matrimonial unity to implement a catechumenate within the family, is underpinned by the spirituality of the Teams of Our Lady (see page 259).
The Members of Light and Life form small groups, creating communities within the parishes. The head of the movement is the General Moderator. There is also a Moderator at the national, diocesan and parish levels. Moderators perform their service with the assistance of a diakonia made up of both members of the laity and religious. Responsibility of the family branch is entrusted, at every level, to a Moderator together with a married couple. The officials of Light and Life meet once a year for the National Consultation of Leaders, which is a major opportunity for praying and reflecting on the tasks of the movement, in the light of the Magisterium of the Church and the signs of the times.
There are no exact figures on the number of members of the Movement. In Poland, there are reckoned to be about 100,000. Light and Life is present in 17 countries as follows: Europe (12), North America (2), and South America (3).
Light and Life gave rise to the Crusade for the Liberation of Man, which is a social movement to combat alcoholism and other forms of modern slavery. The Diakonia of liberation is particularly committed to serving alcoholics and their families, for whom it organises evangelisation retreats, and runs the Prevention-Training Centre at Katowice. In recent years there has also been a service to help persons with problems of homosexuality. Another important initiative is the commitment to protecting unborn children, which involves above all the Diakonia of Life, which organises retreats on this subject for youth and adults.
Oaza, published every two months; Eleuteria and Domowy Kościół, published quarterly.
Ul. Ks. Franciszka Blachnickiego 2
34-450 Krościenko - Poland
Tel. [+48]18.2623235 - Fax 18.2625641