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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
A multidisciplinary academic conference was held in Taipei on the thought of Chiara Lubich. Pope Francis’ goodwill message.

“Patterns of unity: an interdisciplinary dialogue on the thought of Chiara Lubich”, was the title of the seminar held from the 12th-13th April at the Fu Jen Catholic University (Taipei).

Organised in tandem with the Sophia University Institute and two other Catholic universities from Taipei, the event sealed a rapport that the Focolare foundress had been cultivating with the Church and the academic world of the island since the ‘50s, and that reached its apex, as Maria Voce recalled in her greetings on the occasion, in the event organised by the Catholic University of Taipei that conferred on Chiara the Honorary doctorate in Theology in 1997.

Today’s event hosted in the very same place, highlighted Chiara’s charism and her legacy. In his goodwill message to the participants, Pope Francis encouraged them “to renew the joy of the meeting with Christ and to witness His presence in the world” through this very charism.

The opening address by cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, highlighted a challenge faced by the Church: to combine unity that is “it’s essential feature” and catholicity. “In other words”, he specified, “how to reach oneness within the great variety of cultures, traditions, spiritual and theological experiences”. In this journey towards the fullness “of unity in diversity”, Chiara’s charism entered as a “greatest gift”.

Papers were presented by Piero Coda and Luigino Bruni in the fields of theology and economics respectively, along with contributions from local speakers, in a fruitful synergy and bright prospects of further collaborations in the future, as evidenced by the memorandum of understanding signed with Sophia.

Taiwan parliamentarian, Yu-Xing-yang, shared an enthusiastic testimonial of how Chiara’s charism was also a source of inspiration in his own political life.

The significant presence of members from various Buddhist schools of thought, as well as the representative of the Taiwan Orthodox Church, added an interfaith and ecumenical flavour to the event.

We conclude with the words of P. Ramon from the Providence University, that best summarise the illuminating days of the conference: “Chaira visited Taiwan in 1997. Today she came back a second time and we should never let her go”.

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