It was an extraordinary experience for our city, a grand occasion for the young people who are passionate about music and the Christian message. It was a double appointment: Friday, May 30th a workshop with young people; and Sunday, June 1st an evening concert on the square in front of the Madonna delle Grazie Shrine, at the Nazareth Oasis.
The 21 women animated by the charism of the Focolare Movement sang about this passionate love, and they did it through music, modern-day music, rich in sound, echo, expressed by many nationalities and with the words of the Gospel. In these times of “ho un dono, ve lo dono” (suor Cristina at The Voice), these young women did not hesitate to live out the Gospel command to love others in the Lord and to share the invitation to follow the Master with the sounds of their guitar, drums, bass and violins. “The music is a vehicle. We can’t claim to have great talent, but we can place our talents together and see them multiply,” the young women said.
During the workshop, they shared about some moments from their lives – some, moments of difficulty; others, uncomplicated moments of great simplicity – in which words like unity, fraternity and sharing went from being abstract theories to pleasant ongoing realities.
“Every morning before beginning the day,” they explained, “we renew the pact of reciprocal love. This also means loving the other person’s idea, which might be different from mine, welcoming the creative spark in the other as we share our ideas freely. It means beginning again, giving priority to our relationships and then to our art. Whenever I’m able to put aside my idea to open myself to someone else’s idea, a whole new world of opportunities opens.”
The “Start Now” project that was performed on stage in Corato, Italy, was conceived during a trip in the Holy Land where Jews, Muslims and Christians live with each other, but often without any dialogue.
“It occured to us that the Arts could be a vehicle of dialogue. Mutual acceptance of one another’s talents is a way of communicating. We hold theatre workshops in the international town of Loppiano, Italy, where we live. At these workshops, which also involve song and dance, young people from all over the world are invited to share their talents through diaolgue, and experience the values of unity and brotherhood.”
One priest remarked: “Having dealings with these women,” one priest commented, “doesn’t leave you indifferent. Many of us realised this, both Friday and Saturday. Gen Verde wished to talk in front of many young people, telling them about ordinary moments in their lives that were rendered extraordinary by an encounter with the love of the Risen Lord who came to dwell in many episodes of their lives, not always rosey episodes. He transfigured them and made them beautiful and extraordinary, to the point that they could no longer keep it to themselves.”
One song refrain says: “There’s a light in me that never goes away .” Antonella D’Introno, communications director of the event on behalf of the Youth Ministry of the city, commented: “And these women revealed to us the secret for discovering again and again the enthusiasm for what we do. You always need to fix on one person in life: Jesus on the Cross who loves us immensely.”