The General Assembly of the Focolare Movement will be held between 1st and 28th September 2014. Electing the President, the Co-President and the general council members who will remain in office for the next six years, decision making on requests and proposals received from various parts of the world and establishing broad guidelines for the coming years will be among its main tasks. President Maria Voce states “the Assembly is called to express its views on key topics for the life of the entire Movement”, and it sets forth towards this work “with a great sense of gratitude towards God for what we have lived together during the past six years”.
The 494 participants at this General Assembly will be representing the geographical variety of members, who are of different ages and have different commitments, as typical of the Focolare Movement.
15, who come from various non-Catholic Christian Churches, non-Christian religions and non-religious cultures, have been invited to be among those present for this Assembly. They will accompany the work of the Assembly and express their views, something very essential for the life and activity of the Movement.
During the last six months, a series of different initiatives have been taking place in Focolare communities throughout the world to facilitate reflection, analysis and assessment about the work of the Movement, its challenges and its prospects, and thus to suggest themes and proposals on which to set the work for the coming General Assembly.
The outcome of this process of participation are more than 3000 suggestions, each expressed in a maximum of 100 words, and as Maria Voce says, “these indicate the vitality of a people on the move and growing”. Following a process of reflection in all five continents, a group of young members of the Focolare Movement came together for an international conference, where a manifesto was approved and then handed over to the President.
The set of suggestions is being made functional by a preparatory committee who is working on it, and at the beginning of July a copy will be sent personally to each participant. The twenty members of this committee represent the actual International Centre, the various branches of the Movement and the regions of the world where the Movement is present.
The General Assembly of the Focolare Movement is the most important governing body of the Movement and it ordinarily meets every six years. The previous General Assembly was held in July 2008, three months after the passing away of the foundress, Chiara Lubich.