December 1, 2015. Bangui, spiritual capital of the world. “Listening to a land like this which has shed so much innocent blood being called the spiritual capital of the world, was like seeing God coming down to meet us.” The testimony of Geneviève Sanzé from the Central African Republic.[more]
Communion between ecclesial movements and new communities is something new in the history of the Church, but it has spread rapidly in all parts of the world.
History: Pentecost ’98
On the 30th of May 1998, the Vigil of Pentecost, John Paul II invited the Movements and new Communities to Rome where they gathered in Saint Peter’s Square to give a united testimony. It was an historic event that brought together the members and founders of movements. Each of these movements is the fruit of a particular charism, given by the Holy Spirit, to the Church and to humankind in response to the needs of our time.
John Paul II indicated to these new ecclesial realities, their own place in the Church, describing them as significant expressions of the Church’s charismatic nature, constitutive of the Church herself and co-essential to the Church’s institutional aspect.
Aware that the pope ardently desired for the movements to be in communion among themselves, on that day, Chiara Lubich promised John Paul II that she would engage all her strength to promote fraternity between the movements, since her charism was unity.
The Focolare Movement and the other Movements
Ever since the beginning of the Focolare Movement, in many different ways, Chiara Lubich had the opportunity to meet many important personalities who were the bearers of charisms: with Father Leone Veuthey from the Charity Crusade; with Father Patrick Peyton, founder of the Family Rosary Crusade; with Father Pedro Richards from the Christian Family Movement; with the monk, Werenfried van Straaten, who founded Help to the Suffering Church. Then she met the Catholic Charismatic Movement, the Oasis Movement of Father Virginio Rotondi, and the Better World Movement with Father Richard Lombardi.
Communion in action
Many are the fruits that have matured over these years, thanks especially to the hundreds of Day Meetings that were held, modelled on the Pentecost ’98 event, in many countries of the world, with a participation of over 300 Movements and New Communities.
This communion also comes about in other ways: movements gather together for moments of prayer; they share in common projects even at social and political levels; they practice mutual fraternal hospitality; they attend one another’s meetings and celebrations; they reserve a space for this dialogue in their press.
This is how that mutual love increases, which should be the distinguishing mark of the relationship between the Movements and New Communities: that love that discovers and values the gift that each ecclesial reality holds within it, to the point of loving it as one’s own; a love that becomes an efficacious witness today as it was in the early days of Christianity: “See how they love each other and how each of them is ready to die for the other.”
Over the years, the dialogue between Movements has opened further horizons.
The communion with Religious Families born of ancient charisms began with the meeting between Chiara Lubich and the Franciscan Family in Assisi in October 2001, followed by that of the Benedictines in MoNserrat, Spain, in November 2001. Ecclesial Movements and Religious Families met again in Assisi, on 23 October 2010.
There is also openness through a relationship of knowledge and brotherly love with movements that have arisen in the different Christian churches. Since the autumn of ’99 contacts were begun and developed with two major events which led to the “Together for Europe”, held in Stuttgart, Germany, in May of 2004 and 2007, as a hopeful contribution to the building of a “new Europe of the spirit” illuminating its way with the light of the Gospel.
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The new wave of violence has not stopped Pope Francis from asserting that he wishes to go to the Bangui capital to open the cathedral’s holy door for the experience of fraternity among families[more]
In the face of the recent escalation of violence in the Holy Land Pope Francis invites us to pray: “Hope and progress flow only from peaceful choices. So, let us join together in one intense and faith-filled prayer to the Lord.”[more]
Simon Peter Okello, a young journalist from Uganda, reports on the unforgettable visit of Pope Francis: the memorable event itself together with the memory of the martyrs.[more]
Mariapolis Victoria’s new website goes online to coincide with the arrival of Pope Francis in the African continent! Our heartfelt wishes for the success of the Pope’s trip.[more]
Big celebrations in Taung, where 120 years ago, the first Catholic Mission was established in South Africa. And where also the Focolare landed 30 years ago. The success story of a person-centred school.[more]