On Saturday 6 October the annual meeting of the Focolare Delegates came to an end. It had been going since since 13 September at the Movement’s international centre in Rocca di Papa, just outside Rome. About 300 people attended. Among them there were delegates from the Centre of the Movement, including those with an overview of the larger geographical areas where the Movement is present.
It was a month of intense work. The Delegates assessed the Focolare’s current situation worldwide and considered future developments. The programme was a mix of plenary sessions, topic-focused meetings (Church, young people, society) and groups from geographical areas. The Movement’s life was reviewed, its involvement in the lives of many peoples, sharing their aspirations and hopes, their trials and difficulties, such as in Syria or other countries afflicted by violence, conflict and natural disasters. Special consideration was given at how ‘fraternity’ is at work in the world, via the United World Project launched at the Genfest, and assessed in detail by the Focolare. A conference to study the thought of Chiara Lubich was announced. It will be held on 14 March 2013 at the Sapienza University of Rome, on the fifth anniversary of her death. Space was dedicated especially to the topic of communication, highly relevant in a digitally networked world. Benedict XVI’s choice of theme for the next World Communications Day: Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization was highlighted in this context, and consideration was given to the new media and their impact upon society in a conference held by the Italian sociologist Gennaro Iorio, the Chilean psychologist Paula Luengo and the Italian economist Benedetto Gui. There was also an overview of the media used by the Focolare Movement, going from the publishing house Città Nuova in Italy and its sister houses throughout the world, to the Focolare press office, to the Focolare information service and its internal news magazine, to its website and social networks, which are working together in an attempt to achieve coordinated communication.
In a live broadcast transmitted across the world on Saturday 6 October, Focolare President Maria Voce said, ‘The news brought by the Delegates and what we have been told directly have shown God at work in the year that has just finished. We are sure that he will do even more in this coming year, if we put ourselves at his service, recognizing him and loving him in each brother or sister.’
This year has been dedicated by the Roman Catholic Church to the ‘New Evangelization’, and the Focolare Movement is in harmony with this as it seeks to understand and live more deeply the point of Chiara Lubich’s spirituality of love for our brother or sister. The Other, Another Me is the title of Maria Voce’s talk to the Focolare this year. It is based on the biblical invitation to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mk 22:39).
This is the basis of Maria Voce’s words in a greeting via the internet to the members of the Movement: ‘May this year see a huge expansion of love in the world.’ We must seal ‘this pact of mutual love, not for ourselves but for the sake of humanity which needs a flood of love, which needs a torrent of love, which needs to meet Jesus.’
In the meantime, on Sunday 7 October, there was the solemn opening ceremony in the Vatican of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, to which Maria Voce has been invited as an observer.