Focolare Movement » Wellbeing & Ecology http://www.focolare.org/en Official International Website Tue, 07 Jul 2015 09:31:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 From Brazil, João’s story http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/07/06/dal-brasile-la-storia-di-joao/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/07/06/dal-brasile-la-storia-di-joao/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 06:00:27 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=126432 rio_preto_2It was in the air. Too many times João had heard his parents argue, and the fact that he and his mother and brothers had to leave home because his father had a child with another woman didn’t surprise him very much. He was 16 then, he participated at his parish, he had friends. Inside, however, he felt betrayed and unsatisfied, with a strong need for freedom, to be himself. It was an apprehension that led him to discontinue his studies. He took up his schooling again years later, only after he had found the real reason for living.
“At 20 years of age,” recounts João, “I participated in a Focolare activity with the youth group from my parish. During those few days, I realized that the Gospel isn’t so much to be commented or reflected upon, as it is to be put into practice immediately. I was particularly struck by those passages which say how to treat our neighbors: the Good Samaritan, the Golden Rule. I had gone to the activity out of pure curiosity, and instead it was the event which changed my life.”

In Sao José do Rio Preto (State of Sao Paulo), which is my hometown, there are many people who live on the street. One evening, as I was going back home on my bicycle, I crossed paths with a man who was walking barefoot. His feet were dirty and wounded. At the sight of him, I couldn’t pedal any further. “That man is my neighbor, I have to go back to him.” Before I reached him, I took off my shoes to give them to him. He looked at me, surprised. I saw that he was wearing a T-shirt with my favorite soccer team on it, and I said to him, to take away his embarrassment, “So you’re a Santista fan? So am I! What’s your name?” He took the shoes, and we became friends.

joaoI was at the train station, returning from a meeting held in another city. At that hour–two o’clock in the morning–the means of public transportation no longer run, and so I started towards home on foot, crossing the center of the city. Looking around, I saw lots of people who took advantage of the fact that stores were closed to sleep in front of the shop windows. I wasn’t afraid, because this was my hometown. At one point, however, a big, tall man came up to me and asked for money. I must confess that I started to be a little afraid. Who was to say that he wasn’t violent? But I thought, “He, too, is my brother, the Gospel says so.” Calmly, I told him that I couldn’t give him anything because I had no money either. He began to tell me his story, then he had me put on his headphones. He was listening to a sermon by a Protestant pastor. I listened to the transmission for a bit, so that I could tell him that this person was saying nice things and that it’s good to listen to these positive messages every so often. He asked me, “Who are you?” Not knowing how to respond, I asked him why he wanted to know. He said, “Because nobody treats us this well.” This went on for 30 or 40 minutes. I thought about the distance I still needed to travel in order to arrive home, about the fact that I needed to wake up at 6 the next morning to go to work. But I felt that I had to stay a while longer to accommodate this neighbor who needed company and listening. In the end, after he had asked for my address in order to come to my house for a barbecue, we said goodbye, with the knowledge that we had each found a brother.
One rainy day, as I was returning home on my motorcycle, I saw a man, soaking wet, who was trying without success to get up from a puddle. I recognized him: he was one of my next-door neighbors who was always drunk. In the nearby bar, there were several men who simply watched the scene without doing anything. Trying not to get angry, I stopped, left the motorcycle there and accompanied him home, explaining to his wife what had happened. Then I retraced my steps to go back for the motorcycle. As I walked, a phrase re-echoed deep in my heart: “You did it to Me.” I was no longer angry. It was enough for me to feel happy and to not blame those men, astonished, who continued to watch me.

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“Laudato sì” for an integral ecology http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/06/19/laudato-si-per-una-ecologia-integrale/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/06/19/laudato-si-per-una-ecologia-integrale/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:19:19 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=125997 All the popes, from Pope Paul VI on have spoken about the environment, focusing on the issue of ecology? Pope Francis’s encyclical on the Creation created a buzz even before its publication. What is the scope and significance of this document?

Conferenza stampa di presentazione dell'enciclica Laudato si'“The uniqueness of this extraordinary document was highlighted at the presentation of the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, which I attended on June 18, 2015. Laudato si’ is the result of team work. The founder and director of the Postdam Institute for the study of the impact of climate change, Dr. Shellenhuber, said that it puts faith and reason together, and that its content is totally in line with scientific proofs. It is a concrete encyclical, as economist Dr. Carolyn Woo describes it, in which the Pope claims that it is important to protect the environment even from an economic standpoint because this will bear fruit and reduce costs. Metropolitan Jhon Zizioulas thanked Pope Francis several times, as he emphasised how the Encyclical highlights the relationship of man with the earth, along with his relationship with God and neighbour, a relationship very often forgotten. In conclusion, Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, highlighted how Pope Francis places integral ecology at the core of the document, affirming that “when we speak of the ‘environment,’ what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it.”

What projects will EcoOne be bringing ahead for the protection of Creation?

“First of all, there is the intellectual contribution, and international meetings for the elaboration of an ecological theory based on care, environmental conscience-responsibility, new person-nature relationship, and sustainable development.

There have been many initiatives over the years at the level of study, personal and team research. I mention only one, which was the recent contribution by EcoOne to the ongoing reflection on ecology published under the title Focus sull’ecologia in Nuova Umanità (34, 2012/1, 1999), which presents:

  • an essay on the media debate over climate change, the result of a discussion with climatologist, Antonello Pasini. This essay is connected to the results presented in the last part of the book Il pianeta che scotta, in which you find the ideas of EcoOne, written by Lucca Fiorani, president of the EcoOne Commission, and Pasini;
  • essay titled: Un etica ecologica basata su una ecologia di comunione (an ecological ethic based on an ecology of communion), written by Miguel Olivera Panao. It offers a philosophical vision of the synthesis among three levels of ecological understanding: the natural, the human, and the spiritual.

But there are also other initiatives of a didactic-educative type that can support those would like to change their lifestyle, such as the Earth Cube which engages them in protecting the earth, with one of the phrases that are written on each of its sides. Then there is the scholastic project ‘Giving to Save the Environment’ which invites people into a ‘saving energy pact’ which turns acts of energy saving into scholarships for disadvantaged teenagers.

In 1949, Chiara Lubich lived a period of intense mystical contemplation amidst the splendid natural surroundings of the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy, and this had a very important role. What insights are offered by that vision of the cosmos in the mysticism and spirituality of Chiara?

“The culture that emerges from the charism of unity contains the foundations of a new understanding of the concept of sustainable development which is not yet fully developed. In Chiara Lubich’s mystical intuitions we’ve learned that looking at nature with God’s eyes, we catch the presence of God beneath all things. Nature comes to be seen as a gift of God, as an expression of His love. In those words of Chiara, ‘everything is substaniated with love,’ we see unity in the biodiversity just as in the non-biological diversity. Moreover, we see that God creates for and out of love. When God created, He created all things from nothing out of love, because He created them from Himself . . . He drew them from Himself because creating them he died (of love), died in love: loved and therefore created.’ Therefore, for Chiara, the logic with which God creates is forever that of self-emptying, so that creation emerges. Chiara sees the creation as an action of God that is not estranged from his internal dynamic, the dynamic of giving all of Himself. So, God not only created the cosmos, but He keeps it alive and sustains it in continuation second by second accompanying it with His providential love. Finally, we perceive the golden thread that joins all beings. ‘Everything on earth, therefore, shared in a rapport of love with everything: every thing with every thing. . . but you need to be Love in order to weave the gold thread among the beings.” The rationality in nature speaks to us of a Creator who is relationship, the rational being par excellence. God relates in a Trinitarian relationship, and all the things He created carry that Trinitarian stamp.

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Thank you Fr Foresi http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/06/15/grazie-don-foresi/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/06/15/grazie-don-foresi/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 08:25:26 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=125745 Live streaming of funeral 18 June. Pasquale Foresi – more familiarly known as Chiaretto – the first focolarino priest and co-founder of the Focolare Movement, died on 14th June. Our memories of him are full of affection and gratitude.The funeral will be held on Thursday, 18 June at 3.30 pm (Italian time) at the Focolare Movement's International Centre in Rocca d Papa.]]> Live streaming of funeral 18 June (3.30 pm Italian time): http://live.focolare.org


Pasquale Foresi con Chiara Lubich
Pasquale Foresi with Chiara Lubich

In recent years he lived quietly in his focolare at Rocca di Papa, together with other first focolarini: Marco Tecilla, Bruni Venturini and Giorgio Marchetti, who had been his travelling companions for a long time.

He was a key figure in the history of the Focolare. He was only 20 years old in 1949 when Chiara Lubich asked him to share the responsibility of the new Movement with her. In fact Chiara always saw Pasquale Foresi as someone with a unique design in the development of the Focolare Movement, the design of incarnating the charism of unity in concrete ways. For this reason she considered him, together with Igino Giordani, a co-founder of the Movement.

In 1949, when he met Chiara and the Movement, Pasquale Foresi was a young man looking for his path in life. He felt called to the priesthood and studied at a seminary in Pistoia, Italy, and the Almo Collegio Capranica in Rome. He recalled: “I was happy and content with my choice, but at a certain point I had second thoughts. It was then that I got to know the Focolare Movement. In the members of the Movement I found an absolute faith in the Catholic Church and, at the same time, a radical gospel life. So I understood that my place was there, and soon the idea of the priesthood returned.”

Villa Eletto 2He was the first focolarino to be ordained to the priesthood, followed by others who also felt called to serve the Movement in this way.

Pasquale saw in what was being done by Chiara Lubich and the first group of people around her “a spring of gospel life gushing forth in the Church” and he began an association with them that would lead him to make a fundamental contribution to the Movement’s development, as one of Chiara Lubich’s closest collaborators.

Referring to his main tasks in the Movement, he wrote: “As a priest I was responsible for our first contacts with the Holy See. Another particular task, over the years, was following the Movement’s growth and development throughout the world and working with Chiara on writing the various Statutes. I also helped start up and follow some of the Movement’s centres and works, such as the ‘Mariapolis Centre’ at Rocca di Papa which runs courses for the members; the little town of witness at Loppiano in Italy; the Citta Nuova publishing house in Rome, and other works that developed in different parts of the world over time.”

But there is one area of Fr Foresi’s life alongside Chiara that perhaps represents his specific contribution to the development of the Movement better than others. He explained: “It’s in the logic of things that every new spiritual current, every great charism, has an effect on culture at all levels. If you look at history you see that this has always been the case, influencing architecture, the arts, ecclesial and social structures, the various fields of human knowledge and especially theology.”

In fact he spoke frequently and published numerous articles and books on the theology of Chiara’s charism and on its social and spiritual dimensions, authoritatively highlighting its newness in the context of both life and thought. His words contain “keen analysis, breadth of vision and optimism for the future made possible by the wisdom that derives from a strong and new charismatic experience, as well by the depths of light and love, humility and faithfulness that only God can achieve in a person’s life”. (Taken from the Preface to “Conversations” questions and answers on the spirituality of unity).

The Focolare Movement throughout the world remembers him with immense gratitude.

See also: Press release

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On the Way to Compostela http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/06/12/in-cammino-verso-compostela-2/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/06/12/in-cammino-verso-compostela-2/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 05:00:55 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=125406 20150612-01“The sun is beating down, but we need to get to the next village. Today we did another stretch with Grey from South Africa, a young television presenter. We were surprised to find people from all over the world, on the road to Campostela – from Korea, Japan, China, United States, Brazil, Canada and, naturally, Europe.

Thirty years ago, only some 100 people would pass through Ronceveaux each year. The walk seems to respond to a need that is felt by the people of today. The reasons for taking the walk are many and it is interesting to share them. Peter, a 35 year old German hotel keeper from the vicinity of Monaco, sits at our table. He hasn’t gone on holiday for two years and, then, his girlfriend left him. He wants to think about life. Paul and Celine from Canada are doing the walk to give thanks for their life. Tracy from Australia is following a dream: she wants to have a great tale to tell her children and grandchildren. Antonella confided to us that she doesn’t know how to weep, she would like to get to know herself more and find her freedom.

We took up El Camino 19 days ago: Bernard and Jean-Paul from Belgium and Ivo from Brazil who was frightened at the idea of having to walk 740 km. It seemed like too much. As the road stretches on you realise that the feet and legs are doing just fine, and with each new day your courage increases. Jean Paul, a married doctor, has been retired for a month. He makes frequent stops to explain the plants we find along the way. He helps us to take in the fragrances of the rich nature all around us. We are struck by the beauty of the flowers, the churches like in Burgos and in Lyon, but also in the small villages.

We often turn around to enjoy the panorama behind us. Each morning we make a pact with one another to help us in the difficult moments. The walk brings us into touch with our limitations, sufferings, tiredness, thirst, hunger. . . and that can easily make us forget our neighbour.

20150612-03Ivo brings a lot of vitality to our little group, and others enjoy walking a few kilometres with us. They share their questions, difficulties and joys. One evening a priest told us the meaning of the word Compostela: Stars Field. We should also follow our star and be stars (light) for one another. Each day we come into touch with many hearts, but we are also touched by them.

We try to open the door to God because we feel He is here amongst us through evanglical love. We have dinner with the others and pray altogether. Nicole is looking for people who would like to pray the Rosary. She recites it in Latin, Jean-Paul in French and we in Italian. Then Nicole begin to sing in Tagalo (Philippine language) and Ivo in Portuguese. Nicole recounts her story: she is on her way to entering a Religious community. Another time a policeman – Doriano – walks with us to 10 metres. He tells us he has prayed with us. This is a new experience in his life. Some cloistered nuns are also praying for us and for all the pilgrims; it is their vocation. Many wonder why we are speaking in Italian. We tell them our story, the story of Chiara Lubich and the Focolare Movement. To others we speak about the Gospel, the vocation and the journey of life.

The experience of the Way of is different for every person. We are wondering what will happen when we reach the steps of St. James of Compostela. It will be a surprise like the one we will receive at the end of our lives. It will be joyful because of the journey, and having met so many people who have remained in our hearts. We wish them well with a ‘Buen camino’. Who knows when we’ll meet again?”

Bernard, Jean-Paul, Ivo

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Volunteers today: “For me, you’re another Padre Pio!” http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/29/volontari-oggi-tu-per-me-sei-padre-pio/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/29/volontari-oggi-tu-per-me-sei-padre-pio/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 06:00:57 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=124410 20150529-01“When I can, I attend a group for retirees in my neighbourhood. I see that certain people are avoided by the ‘decent’ folks in the group, because of their scruffy appearance: alcoholics, homeless, who bide the time with a bottle as their only companion, and no one tries to involve them in the games, or the conversation.

So I began learning how to play cards and bocce, in order to be able to spend time with them without any judging. At first I had to put up with their frequent reprimands. But I made an effort anyway to be friendly and disposed towards them; also to accept their language and their ramshackle way of playing.

One day, Giulio, whom everyone considered the biggest vagrant, was admitted to hospital because of an alcoholic problem, but no one which hospital he was in. I did some searching and made several phone calls, but because of privacy I wasn’t given any news. In the end, I contacted the city police and they were able to track him down. I took care of him. His doctor explained his medical condition to me if I were a relative. Then I took him home, obtained his medicines and some packages of food.

Silvio, another alcoholic whose driver’s license had been removed, was about to lose his job. I stepped in to help him get it back. Now he’s out of his addiction and has become the animator of a group of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ulysses was a competitive player, and he bragged about being a “priest-hater”. For two years I put up with his rather aggressive statements. Then, he developed a tumour but, proud as he was, he wouldn’t accept help from anyone. One day he asked me to take him home. This unexpected request was like an answer for me, that perhaps I had made a breakthrough and conveyed a bit of my faith to him.

Gianni, the youngest one in the group, was 50 years old. He was tall as a giant and lived a very disordered life. Because of his lifestyle he was considered last in the ‘good conduct’ rankings. I stood by him until the last day of his life. His family members were surprised, and so was he. A few days before his death he squeezed my hand inside that giant fist of his, expressing his esteem and gratitude.

Guido is a deaf mute; the most isolated one in the group because communicating with him is very demanding. We’ve become friends, and now he’s my partner when we play trump.

One day, Giulio, the homeless man, removed a picture of Saint Padre Pio from his pocket and, in front of the whole group, said to me: “For me, you’re another Saint Padre Pio*.” From that day on everyone in the circle began calling me by that name and, despite the fact that I found it embarrassing, the name stuck.

These friends now await my arrival with joy and I often find myself playing cards with my deaf mute friend against the two alcoholics. We’ve become the most famous team in the circle, and also the noisiest!

Before going to the circle, I make a visit in a nearby church – something that has not escaped the attention of the group – to ask Him for the strength and guidance in loving these socially disadvantaged friends of mine.”

* Padre Pio of Pietrelcina is an Italian saint renowned for his miracles.

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Kenya. Witnesses of the Massacre in Garissa http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/14/kenya-in-luoghi-di-conflitto-e-sofferenza/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/14/kenya-in-luoghi-di-conflitto-e-sofferenza/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 06:00:04 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=123759

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Centennial of Brother Roger Schutz http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/12/100-anni-di-frere-roger-schutz/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/12/100-anni-di-frere-roger-schutz/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 06:05:42 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=123726 Chiara Lubich, Gabri Fallacara, Frère Roger Schutz (1978).
Chiara Lubich, Gabri Fallacara, Frère Roger Schutz (1978).

May 12, 2015 marks the centennial of the birth of Brother Roger Schutz, founder of the Taize Community. When did you meet him for the first time?

“It was August 1974, at Taizé in Burgundy where the Council of Youth was being held. Chiara Lubich asked me to attend with several French young people from our Movement. The 40,000 attendees were welcomed by large wooden signs with the word “Silence” written in various languages. It was a simple and direct way to introduce us into the atmosphere of prayer and dialogue among everybody, a ‘creative space’ as Brother Roger called it: no smoking or alcohol, only prayer and dialogue among all, trust and freedom. There were Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, Orthodox, Jews, agnostics . . . a composition that mirrored that of the brothers living with Brother Roger, who was a Reformed Calvinist. Schutz was always around. With his sweet and humble features that seemed to speak of God, he greeted each and every person. When he heard that Chiara had sent us, he held my hand and said: “I’m happy to see you here; tell Chiara that I carry her in my heart.” In another moment he said: “Give Chiara an embrace on my behalf.” The final declaration contained the strength and commitment of all to living out the Beatitudes and being ‘seed of society without classes and without privileges.” It gave us a boost to live beyond our dreams, to live in peace and harmony.”

Was that the first time the Prior of Taizé met anyone from the Focolare Movement?

“No. His first encounter with the Focolare was in the 1950s. He spoke of it himself in the preface to the book Méditations by Chiara Lubich, published in Paris in 1966: “It was more than ten years ago that I welcomed some young men and women to Taizé. I listened to them with tranquillity and the more I heard, the more I recognized the light of Christ in them. Who were those young people? The focolarini. Then we met again several times, not only at Taizé, but in Rome, Florence, Milan and elsewhere, and it was always the same light of Christ. One day that I was in Rome, I invited Chiara Lubich over, the one who had founded this spiritual family of focolarini. That encounter remains memorable. Then I saw Chiara often, and the transparency of this woman is always the same page of an opened Gospel. I never forget that Chiara had been chosen from among the humble, the worker, to confuse the strong, the powerful of this world. I know that through a woman like Chiara, God gives us an unparalleled instrument of unity for us Christians separated for centuries by a long and drawn out divorce.”

Chiara Lubich, Eli Folonari,
Chiara Lubich, Eli Folonari,

A testimony of mutual respect and esteem between the two movements, and between the two founders. . .
“Those words from the preface reveal the understanding that Roger had with regards to Chiara as an instrument of unity, for the reconciliation among Christians of different denominations that he also longed for. Chiara always held him in high esteem, also offering concrete support for his work. For example, she asked a focolarino to work for one year in the organization of the Youth Council. Later we collaborated in the Together for Europe project, which Roger so much supported. The Taizé Community has always been very present in the different manifestations, and it will also be there for the one that’s being prepared in Monaco for 2016. It was the first time that Movements from different Churches agreed to grow together in the Gospel life. Since each one will include many people, this innovation has handed over to history something very significant that does not go unobserved.”

Since you knew him personally, what can you tell us about Brother Roger as an ecumenical figure?
“With Brother Roger a new era was inaugurated. You prayed for each other, you shared with each other.
Roger Schutz leaves us a message of assurance. He began his work by gathering refugees and the suffering, putting together so many young people. During his long life – he lived to be 90, had a special death as we all know – he really experienced the Father’s love for humanity. He was the transparent reflection of this Divine Love. For him prayer was a key that allowed you to, I would almost say, unlock the mystery of God and Roger had this Divine sense of prayer, outside of time. He believed in the unity among Christians, he believed in it completely. So he set out to do with other people what could be done immediately: praying. Unity will be a gift from God.”

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Graziella De Luca left this world http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/09/graziella-de-luca-ci-ha-lasciato/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/09/graziella-de-luca-ci-ha-lasciato/#comments Sat, 09 May 2015 19:31:36 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=123835 1954.05“The adventure of unity:” this is how Chiara Lubich and her first companions were fond of describing their choice of God as the Ideal that led them to live for the unity of the human family. Graziella De Luca was with Chiara right from the start of the Focolare Movement. It would be impossible to describe in few words the very fruitful life she lived in spreading the spirituality of unity in many so many places and hearts.

“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! (Lk 12:49). Chiara had suggested this Gospel sentence to her as a goal, also because of her keen apostolic spirit that led her in great simplicity to share with parliamentarians and simple workers, the great discovery that changed her life, the encounter with God’s love.

Born in Trent, Italy, on March 12, 1925, Graziella De Luca died on May 9, 2015 at 15:35, as the focolarine gathered around her were praying the Veni Creator Spiritus, writes Focolare president, Maria Voce informing the global community of Graziella’s death.

She continued: “Let us thank God for her abundantly fruitful life. Let us pray for her, in the joy of imagining her already in the Bosom of the Father, with Our Lady and all those who are dear to us. Let us trustfully entrust the Work of Mary to her as it “reaches out,” certain that she will help us to set the world on fire with love”.

Live streaming of the funeral: live.focolare.org/graziella

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Run4Unity at the starting line http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/02/run4unity-ai-nastri-di-partenza/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/05/02/run4unity-ai-nastri-di-partenza/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 15:00:08 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=123451

One video from the Teens for Unity in Syria shows how they are keeping hope alive in their battered country. It will be viewed by their peers in other countries, who are equally committed to bearing witness with gestures of fraternity, towards the building of a peaceful present.

Teenagers from Slovakia will head to Ukraine, just outside Mucachevo: “Even though the war is underway in another part of the country,” they write, “here you feel the great economic crisis and atmosphere of hopelessness.” A small group will go to Kiev in support of their Ukrainian friends.

In Bethlehem, a city of peace, Christian and Muslim teenagers from Bethlehem, Nazareth and Haifa will run together. They will take off from Nativity Square: “We’ll announce to Mayor Vera Baboun and the people we find there, our commitment to living out the Golden Rule in order to build fraternity.”

In Arequipa, Peru, 2,300 metres above sea level, a chain of solidarity will be unleashed. Each teenager will take foodstuffs and school materials to two centres – one for abandoned children and the other for children with disabilities.

Run4Unity_01The group from Wellington, New Zealand, will be the first to run; and Los Angeles, USA will close the event. In Malta, the race will be opened by the President of the Republic, M. Luise Coleiro Preca.

Some symbolic sites along the race course include the Statue of Liberty on St Gellert Hill, in Budapest, Hungary. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, the teenagers will climb to the feet of the statue of Cristo de la Concordia where it is written: “That all may be one.” In Trelew, Argentina, a peace mural in the centre of town; and in Houston, Texas, a food collection for refugees. All the activities in the Southern Cone and Brazil promise to be colourful and have a strong social imprint.

In Kaunas, Lithuania, and in Hamm, Germany, there will be interreligious events. Sponsored by Mayor Thomas Hunsteger-Petermann, the Run4Unity in Hamm will include a “Reli Rally” that will link several places of worship around the city, including a mosque and a Hindu temple. The Bahai teenagers will grab crowd’s attention with a flash mob. Together, they intend to raise contributions for a local social project that helps children from war-torn countries (www.hammer-forum.de). In Goma, Congo, Christians from different Churches and Muslim teenagers from around the city will take part.

All the events will be linked by a moment of prayer for peace, the “Time-Out,” offered every day at the noon hour of the different time zones. The teenagers will join together in prayer for all teenagers who live in situations of suffering, the victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal, the teens living in war zones, and those who have had to flee their homelands.

Run4Unity will also be racing through the social media. With the hashtag #run4unity, all the links of peace and unity that are being built or rebuilt, can be shared with photos and videos that will be placed on the event’s website: http://www.run4unity.net/2015/.

Run4Unity will take place during United World Week 2015. This year’s title is: “Discovering fraternity as a way to promote peace at all levels of society. This year’s main event will be held in India.

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Smiling on the world; safeguarding creation http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/04/29/salvaguardia-del-creato-sorridere-al-mondo/ http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2015/04/29/salvaguardia-del-creato-sorridere-al-mondo/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 06:00:44 +0000 http://www.focolare.org/?p=123350

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No anticipating the encyclical of Pope Francis on the Creation, but great expectation for the document that will be published at the beginning of June. “The world waits to hear his teaching and what he will say in the encyclical and in his speech before the United Nations Assembly on September 25, 2015,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN agency for sustainable development (UN Sustainable Development Solutions Networks). He is also one of the promoters of the summit, along with the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences and the Religions for Peace, which has Maria Voce as one of its co-presidents. Also in attendance: were General Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, president of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, and president of the Republic of Equador Rafael Vicente Correa.

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The conference brings together scientists, environmentalists, Nobel laureates, political and religious leaders to further the discussion on climate change and sustainable development in view of the encyclical on Creation. The day focused on the moral dimensions of the commitment to sustainable development. This is why the involvement of a wide diversity of religious communities seemed quite an encouraging novelty. For Maria Voce, what emerges from this summit is a “new awareness that, in order to obtain something positive, we must come together, because no one, by himself, has the recipe for getting out of these quite dramatic situations.

It reveals that the human race has within itself the ability to get out of the crisis, but it can be done if there is a synergy of all the components. What is emerging is the need for listening to each other, and acting together.”

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Cardinal Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace proposed that the answers should not be merely technical, but should be based on the moral dimension and oriented towards the well-being of humankind. Technological, scientific and economic progress has introduced lifestyles that were unimaginable to our predecessors, but it also has “some dark sides and unacceptable costs.” “While global society is defined on the values of consumption and economic factors, the rich of today have grown numb in front of the cry of the poor.” “Out of the 7 billion people living the world, 3 billion are living in conditions of poverty, as an elite consumes the greatest portion of the resources.” The discussion ended on the topic of food, which will be at the centre of the Universal Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy. Turkson strongly denounced the exploitation of workers, the trafficking of human beings and the modern forms of slavery. Pope Francis deplores this “throw-away culture,” the Cardinal recalled, in the “globalisation of indifference.” “The Church is not an expert in science, technology or economy, but it is an expert in humanity. To win the challenge of sustainable development “the same conversion, personal transformation and renewal are needed that were invoked fifty years ago by Paul VI and encouraged by Pope Francis today.

“One concrete possibility is offered by a project inspired by the Eco One Project,” Maria Voce remarked during an interview. “It’s the Earth Cube. Its six sides have catchy phrases that can get us involved in supporting a healthy and sustainable planet: ‘Smile on the world!’ ‘Discover the beauty!’ It also teaches sobriety, taking only what you need as the trees do. It suggest daily actions, concrete gestures: ‘Don’t waste water.’ ‘Recycle!’ The last side says: “Now is the time!” Don’t wait until tommorrow. Simple projects such as these can help us to do what the Pope is inviting us to do.”

 

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