“Why were we asked for this contribution? The first reaction of my people was surprise, Patience Lobe of Cameroon shared. But then this dimension of our culture kicked in: when it is the community who asks, one must give an answer, tackling the questions first of all within the family. That is why the answers sent to the commission were the fruit of a common reflection, not so much the expressions of the individual.”
Patience is one of the 20 members of the commission that has gathered and organized reflections, analyses and balance sheets of the Focolare community in the world. Some 3050 interventions arrived, and more thane 600 were documents which came from the youth of the Focolare Movement. They represent a precious treasure and show the great involvement and participation in the process of the General Assembly of which they are a part and which is convened every 6 years. What emerged is a “photograph” of the Focolare Movement in its different vocational, geographical and generational expressions, with its challenges, hopes, criticisms, gratitude, joy for the journey that has been accomplished and with aspirations and proposal made in the light of the charism of unity.
“At the beginning of this task, people thought of the Assembly as a moment to elect the new persons responsible for the Movement», explained Bill Neu, of the United States. «But then we grasped the importance of welcoming the requests that were coming from the entire Movement and to face them”.
For Father Egidio Canil, conventual Franciscan of Assisi, moreover, «having experienced other chapters, assemblies, ecclesial and religious synods, I can say that the “method” of Jesus in the midst (Mt 18:20 “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst”) is an original and new, very new method in the Church and also in society. This means: to make Jesus present among the members of an assembly before going ahead. In this way, then, it will be God, presen among them, united in the name of Jesus, who makes the Holy Spirit present, to guide the works and also to produce for the whole Opera fruits on the level of the design of God. This thing of unity is the charism on which the Focolare Movement rests, and without which it cannot function otherwise».
Giuliana, a focolarina in India, said: “To carry out this task we met with the various communities and immediately there was a great agreement and support in sharing one’s own idea. I saw the love that there is for this Opera, a call once again to authenticity so as to live better – recalling our roots – the aim for which it was born, for the world.”
Pablo Loyola, volunteer from Argentina, confided: “There were doubts, in the beginning as to how we should proceed. How would this work be perceived? By making a summary, we saw that the results went beyond all our expectations. I can say that we listened to all the voices. I tried to bring the voice of Hispanic America whom I represent. The challenge now is to see to it that this work of involving everyone continues.”
Objective and wish for whoever will participate in the work: listen to everything that has emerged so far so as to understand together how to go ahead in the journey as the “people of the Focolare” in the succeeding years to come.
In the meantime, as the Assembly approaches, last July 7 the president Maria Voce wrote in a letter: “As I return the mandate completely to the Holy Spirit, as we wait to discover what He would like to show to us, I want to share with you three sentiments that dominate my soul in this moment: gratitude, joy, a new momentum” she wrote in a letter to all the members of the Focolare Movement. A profound “communion” with the expressed desire to “multiply such sentiments of gratitude, joy and a new momentum so as to make us all start again all together, with no one excluded, in this extraordinary adventure”.