On May 17, 1980, 40,000 young people from around were gathered at the Flaminio Stadium in Rome, Italy. On May 18th, they met in Saint Peter’s Square with Pope John Paul II. Below is Patrizia’s recount of her first Genfest.[more]
The joy of being loved by God cannot be hidden. It signifies the discovery of that golden thread that joins together all the events of one’s life; it’s that indispensible tile which completes the mosaic of human experience. It’s true happiness. It can be seen on people’s faces, in their eyes, in their actions. It takes root in the depths of a person and unleashes buried energies that can no longer be still. It’s a contagious and liberating joy that helps us to see the events of life correctly.
It was the same story for everyone in the early days of the Movement, everyone who drew close to the Movement followed this same track. It’s what happened to Graziella De Luca in Massaia Hall, in Trent, where the newly-born Focolare community would meet. “As Chiara spoke, with the eyes of my soul I could see a very great light and I realized that this light was God, endless Love. The understanding was simultaneous to the light. Saying “I realized” implies a lapse of time. It was an immediate understanding. It was God, infinite Love, satisfying my soul, there was no emptiness left inside me. It was what I had always been searching for.”
The experience of being loved by God and responding with love is the common plot of every story that is shared in environments where the Focolare is at work. Whether in small sharing groups or in the large public gatherings promoted by the Movement, it is a thrust toward universal brotherhood that begins in the place where you live in the present moment: in the family, at school, at work, even on a hospital bed. It’s this natural personal and communitarian spreading that leads to a deep inculturating of the Gospel and of the charism of unity in every continent and country.
Stressing how our age is called to live unity, Chiara Lubich wrote: “(. . .) if it is lived, its reflections on society will quickly become obvious. And one of these will be mutual esteem between States, between peoples. This is somewhat unusual. We have become strongly accustomed to seeing the boundaries between peoples, fearing the other’s power, unless to join powers for our own benefit. But we think it difficult to act – since popular morality has never reached this point – only out of love for another people. But when the life of the Mystical Body is so developed among individuals who actually love their neighbours – black or white, red or yellow – as themselves, it will be easy to transplant this law to between States. And we’ll witness a new phenomenon, for love either finds or makes us similar, and nations will learn from what is better in the other and each people’s virtues will be put into motion for the enrichment of all. Then there will truly be unity and variety and a new people will blossom in our world which, though child of this earth will be formed by heavenly laws, and be called “People of God”.
The testimony of Bede Baumgartner, Swiss priest in Ivory Coast. The discovery of a vibrant culture and the effort to be close to people through acceptance and deep listening[more]
Who hasn’t suffered? But the main thing is knowing how to face suffering. Some testimonies of young people from the Focolare Movement, who come from different countries, cultures and religions.[more]
From Chiara Lubich’s talk on the 20th anniversary of the Gen Movement at Castel Gandolfo, 2nd February 1987.[more]
The personal testimony of someone who was present at Genfest 1975, held in conjunction with the Holy Year in Rome. There were 20,000 young people, from all 5 continents, gathered at Palaeur Stadium. Chiara Lubich presented them to Pope Paul VI: “A new world is born.”[more]