1962-1965: the Vatican II Council brought together the bishops of the whole world to reflect on important themes for the modern world.
December 1971: Pierre Goursat, 57 years old, heard about the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which had been started in the United States by a Canadian Trinitarian, Fr Regimbald. He expressed his enthusiasm to a friend, Fr Caffarel (the founder of the ‘Teams of Our Lady’) at the same time as the latter heard about the Renewal from the Pichons, a couple who lived in the United States and had experienced it there.
20th January 1972: Purchase by Pierre Goursat of the ‘Péniche’ (a barge which had been available since 1971). The barge was to become the centre of life for the Community.
11th February 1972: Weekend at Troussures with Fr Caffarel : 40 people came together to hear the testimony of Xavier and Brigitte Le Pichon and then asked for an ‘outpouring of the Spirit’. Among them were Pierre Goursat and Martine Laffite (30 years old) who received a call to continue together. They did not know each other very well having worked together in a school of contemplative prayer. They felt themselves however to be in a profound and simple fraternal communion. They recognized each other as brother and sister. Others present experienced the same thing.
March 1972: When they returned to Paris, Pierre and Martine started to pray together every day. They invited several others to come and pray with them according to the graces of the Renewal. There were five of them at the beginning.
December 1972: The place where the prayer group, led by Pierre Goursat et Martine Catta, met had become too small. The core group had doubled and had given birth to four other large prayer groups.
March 1973: The name ‘Emmanuel’, ‘God is with us’, was received by several people in prayer. There were now 500 members in the Emmanuel groups.
1975: After an initial gathering at Vézelay in 1974, Pierre Goursat was inspired to organise a meeting of the different prayer groups and Charismatic Renewal communities at Paray-le-Monial. The same year, Pope Paul VI invited the Catholic Charismatic Renewal to Rome.
September 1976: Forty people attended a three week long retreat (evenings and weekends). The majority of those present were to join in the life of the new Community. From this moment on the Community also developed outside Paris and abroad.
Pentecost 1976: The Community organised a meeting for the Charismatic Renewal in Lourdes.
1979: The Catholic Charismatic Renewal was received in Rome by Pope Jean-Paul II.
3rd April 1980: The first Community priest was ordained.
3rd January 1981: The first commitments to celibacy.
1982: The first Fidesco mission.
September 1986: The parish of ‘La Trinité’ in Paris was the first parish to be led by Emmanuel Community priests.
6th October 1986: Pope John-Paul II said to Pierre Goursat, “Thank you for having founded ”
25th March 1991: Death of Pierre Goursat. The Community was now in approximately eighteen countries.
8th December 1992: The first canonical recognition by the Holy See.
2000: The first bishop to be consecrated from among Emmanuel priests.
2009: A new canonical status: ‘Public Association of the Faithful’.
3rd February 2011: Pope Benedict XVI received senior members of Emmanuel at the Vatican on the occasion of the opening of the jubilee year celebrating 40 years of the existence of the Community.
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