«I officially declare the Assembly open.” With these words Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, gave the start signal on 1 September for the morning working session of the long awaited appointment in which the participants will discuss some fundamental issues of the life of the Movement and elect the President, the Co-president and general councilors for the next six years.
The word of life of the month cites a phrase of Paul to the Romans: “Accept one another, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Rm 15,7) and Maria Voce invited all those present to assume this attitude. It is a commitment which should not to be taken for granted, since many of those attending have arrived from every corner of the world, bringing with them the tragedies of populations at war, struck by natural disasters, and put to the test economically.
Some messages were read, like that of the Evangelical Gerhard Pross, of the YMCA of Esslingen, who wrote: “I send you my warmest greetings on the occasion of your General Assembly. I am most aware of the importance of this moment for all of you: singly and all together as the Focolare Movement. I shall be with you in these days with a special prayer, and pray that the Holy Spirit be in your midst to guide you. »
«Encouragement and support» also arrived from the Fon of Fonjumetaw (Camerun) «also on behalf of the “Fon-Friends” of the Focolare Movement». In his message he prayed that all would accept his best wishes «for the outcomes of this important spiritual meeting, aimed at bringing ahead Chiara’s heritage of mutual love for the achievement of universal brotherhood. »
Dr. Walter Baier, Secretary General of the network of Leftist Europe intellectuals “Transform!europe,” wrote: “What unites us is the objective for a just, solid and fraternal humanity, in which differences are not considered divisions, but enrichment. […] I wish you would possess wisdom: so that you may translate your specific ideals into society today, and I ensure you that I am with you. »
The participants were called to focus their attention on the “heritage” of the foundress, Chiara Lubich, who on many occasions, upon answering the question on the future of the Movement after her death, had answered, saying that she was absolutely sure that the presence of Jesus among those who loved one another in His name (Mt 18,20), would guide and bring ahead the Movement itself.
On this premise, the first “operations” started off from the approval of the regulations of the Assembly. The spiritual retreat will take place from 2 to 4 September.