Economy of communion, political commitment, fighting poverty. These were just a few of the “insights” that were offered by the Gen4 Congress that was held at Mariapolis Santa Maria (Brasil) on the 9th to the 12th of last February. The smallest youngest members of the Focolare Movement had a chance to experiment with some rather demanding topics, but also necessary for facing the future with hope.
The majority of the children were from poor families. The Santa Maria Mariapolis of the Focolare Movement is located in quite a degraded area. Two of the surrounding quarters have risen from “misery” to a state of dignified poverty, a change that was also officially recognized by the police in a document stating that criminal activity has decreased over the past three years. Here in the area of the Mariapolis there is a school whose teaching method is based on the “Art of Loving” that is elaborated by Chiara Lubich’s spirituality of unity. One of the students at this school, a Gen 4 whose family is now working in collaboration with the Brazilian government, shared her own experience that gave them courage and strength.
They also talked about the Economy of Communion (EoC) and the fight against poverty. The EoC businesses at Mariapolis Santa Maria were presented to the Gen4 and the girls met entrepreneurs who try to put an economic model into practice in their businesses that focuses on the human person and shares the business profits with the most needy. Using an educational method that directly joins theory and experimentation, the Gen4 worked in the small “multi-national” business “Scintilla d’amore” and they were pleased to be working for the poor.
All were involved with planning the programme: children, teenagers and adults. On carnival night, the small Mariapolis was set up as a large game park where the Gen 4 could experience daily life in a real city, but a ‘city with love” – from shopping at a supermarket to drawing up laws for the common good.
Four days of intense recreation and deepening, lived in a profound relationship with Jesus: “You are all ours,” one child wrote, “You were a great King and a great Child. Remain with the angels and protect me always day and night.”