Know, Live, Share, Act. These were the four topics for thought and action at the root of the Gen 3 Congress from 17th to 21st February at the Mariapolis Centre of Castelgandolfo. There were 410 boys from 17 different nations, some from outside Europe: Brazil, Panama, Chile, Costa Rica and Venezuela. There was even one representative from Iraq.
The theme of the meeting was: ‘The Word Creates’ and the boys looked at it in various ways in an integrated programme that went from moments in the hall, group work, moments of dialogue and space to speak ‘one to one with God’.
The gen 3 did not let the grass grow under their feet. They took responsibility for the meeting and threw themselves with enthusiasm into a series of workshops. Here they were able to experiment with the theme of the ‘Word’ in various fields of communication. They split into small groups and explored the secrets of publicity, the techniques of television journalism and of the Web. They visited the centres for the gen 3 magazine, focolare.org, the Focolare Information Service (aka SIF, servizio informazione focolare). They also tested out Teens TV, Teens Radio, Città Nuova, the St Clare Audiovisual Centre and the Information Section. Some of them had some hands-on experience and went to interview the mayor of Grottaferrata (Rome), Grabiele Mori. They asked him nine questions about Chiara Lubich, the Focolare Movement, his life as a politician, how to live the Gospel and the role of young people in the life of a town.
A large group of gen 3 worked side by side with the members of the international band Gen Rosso to sort out the details of a show called ‘Street Light’. The mayor of Genzano (Rome) gave the Sports Palace for it to be performed. Entrance was free. The show dealt with bullying among gangs in Chicago in the 60s and told in a creative way how bullying can be overcome by peace, forgiveness and a sense of solidarity with one another.
An opponent is not an enemy. The gen 3 also have stories lit up by the Gospel in their own daily lives. Boys from Africa, Europe, South America spoke about overcoming vendettas with forgiveness and about the best approach which to is go against the current.
Andrea told his story: ‘I play in a volleyball team. Some time ago, during a match, I fouled a boy and he fell over. I went to help him get up. My coach on the bench was angry because I’d helped an someone on the other side. In his way of seeing things I should not have done that. I thought, though, that I had to be concerned for that boy but also for my coach and help him see that it is possible to win even while respecting our opponent, by not thinking of him as an enemy.’