27 January 2015. During the opening of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Chiara Lubich at the Cathedral of Frascati, a surprise message arrives from Pope Francis![more]
A witness of faith and love – It is customary in the Catholic Church to present to the faithful as an encouragement to their Christian life, people who have distinguished themselves because of their special witness of faith and love for God and neighbour. This is done following a canonical process of verification which also examines the life patrimony of ideas and actions of that person. The process can be started no earlier than five years after their death.
In recent years, considering Chiara Lubich (1920-2008) and her legacy, ordinary and authoritative people – notwithstanding the diversity their respective visions – have expressed the hope that this could be the case for her as well. The aim of such recognition would be to encourage many others to further their spiritual and moral commitment for the good of the human family. It would be an incentive for them to personally adopt the desire that was repeatedly expressed by Chiara: of becoming holy together, offering to the Church not only the sainthood of separate individuals, but that of a people. In this spirit, the president of the Focolare, Maria Voce, on December 7, 2013 announced the decision to solicit the opening of the Cause of Beatification of Chiara Lubich.
After a year of compliance with the canonical norms for the Opening of the Cause, the Bishop of Frascati, Italy, Raffaello Martinelli, has designated the 27th day of January 2015, as the date of the Solemn Opening of the “Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Chiara Lubich.” In a letter addressed to the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce was delighted to announce the Opening of the Cause, inviting everyone who adheres to the spirituality of unity to be a “living witness” of what Chiara had lived, proclaimed and shared with so many, through a common effort to become holy together.”
The Opening Ceremony, known as the Prima Sessio (first session), was held at the Cathedral of Frascati, beginning at 16:00 with Vespers. It included the reading of the Decree of introduction of the Cause and of the Rescript nulla osta (no impediment) of the Holy See; the establishment of the tribunal appointed by the Bishop; and the oaths of the Bishop, the members of the Tribunal and of the Postulation.
The ceremony was followed live via the Internet, so that those who cannot be physically present, could still take part. Indeed, there is already wide interest and participation by countless people, religious leaders and academics from around the world, which is already an indication of the impact that the life of Chiara Lubich has had worldwide.
Her funeral was attended by tens of thousands of people, held on March 18, 2008 at the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls. In his message Benedict XVI called Chiara, among other things, a “Woman of intrepid faith, a meek messenger of hope and peace.”
That her witness continues to be a light to many is also shown by the constant flow of people in the six years since her death, to the place she lived and now rests: over 120,000 people from different continents and religious traditions, bishops and cardinals, academics, politicians, families, children and young adults have visited her tomb at the Focolare’s International Centre in Rocca di Papa, Italy – all in search of hope.
She had an idea of holiness that was firmly rooted in the Gospel, from which she drew nourishment throughout her life. Chiara wrote: “We find holiness in Jesus, who blossoms within us because we love. . . If we sought holiness for its own sake, we would never reach it, ever. Love, then, and nothing else. Lose everything, even any attachment to holiness, so that you can tend only towards loving.” We’ll become saints, she explained, “if we have at the basis of our holiness – ante omnia, before all else, also before sainthood – mutual love: Jesus in our midst as the premise or origin, as the means for becoming holy and as the goal.
Letter sent by Pope Francis (in Italian) for the Opening of the Cause of Beatification of Chiara Lubich
Replay live streaming event on 27 January 2015
For more information, please contact:
Movimento dei Focolari – Postulazione Chiara (Silvia) Lubich
Via Frascati, 306 – 00040 Rocca di Papa (RM) – Italia
Tel. (+39) 06 – 94798139
Donations for the Cause
Amount payable to: COMITATO POSTULAZIONE CHIARA (SILVIA) LUBICH
Bank Account No. 000103229501
Bank Name: Banca Unicredit
IBAN Code: IT 30 P 02008 39102 000103229501
SWIFT/BIC Code: UNCRITM1D58
If you would like to leave a personal witness or comment, please fill out this form
What Pope Francis said in his message on the occasion of the opening of the cause for the beatification and canonisation of the founder of the Focolare, from today onwards a “Servant of God.”[more]
Maria Voce to Vatican Radio. The Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Chiara Lubich opens on January 27 in the Cathedral of Frascati (Rome). Watch the live streaming event , from 4.00-6.00 p.m. Italian time, with translations in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese: http://live.focolare.org[more]