Focolare Movement » Arts & Entertainment Official International Website Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:53:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Haiti: always in our hearts Mon, 12 Jan 2015 09:54:02 +0000


It was a tragedy «that caused death, destruction and also desperation» and where «a lot has been done to rebuild the country » but where a lot of work still remains to be done.» This was what Pope Francis said to the participants at the meeting promoted for the 5th anniversary of the 12 January earthquake.

Though part of a very poor society, also the Focolare Movement’s community in Savanette (Mont-Organisé in the North-East) immediately expressed its willingness to receive and help the evacuees arriving from Port-au-Prince, the capital which was immensely devastated. The local association, PACNE (Action Contre la Pauvreté du Nord-Est), thought of creating a centre to host the evacuees and with the contribution of many communities from various parts of the world and the assistance of the AFN associations (Action for New Families) and AMU (Action for a United World), was able to set up the community centre, “Maison de la Providence,” which offered employment and accommodation to evacuee families. On the whole, in its first two years of activities this centre supported about 500 people.

Foto: Dieu Nalio Chery/AP

At Port-au-Prince, two projects were conducted by AMU in close collaboration with the Scalabriniani Missionaries, as a sign of that “ecclesiastical communion” which has characterised the reconstruction of Haiti, in which many ecclesiastics or lay organisations were involved. The first, related to an urbanization plan for families who were without homes, consisted of the creation of a new electric line to service two villages, by which 41 families were able to connect to the electric power grid. Furthermore, to help complete the construction of the “Montebelluna-Bassano” village composed of 27 housing units for the benefit of 135 people, the contribution of AMU went to the laying of the village’s water and sewerage system and the electrical equipment of each house. The power grid was boosted through a production pole with a powerful generator, in such a way that many small enterprises in the area (cement blocks, carpenter workshops, a bakery, an industrial kitchen and a poultry farm) managed to increase their own production. Lastly, AMU supported the start-up of a poultry farm – with job opportunities for 10 people – through the construction of a water reserve tank, indispensable for the water supply of the 3,000 animals and slaughtering activities.

A community centre – school, recreation centre and big sports ground – was the second project AMU supported. Through AMU the Focolare Movement also supported other social activities for the Haiti population: at Carice (always in the North East), for many years a professional nurse was employed in the small clinic of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, while waiting for one of the religious to complete her specialization and be able to work in the clinic, one of the few healthcare centres at the service of the population. Lastly, with PACNE and the specific contribution of the Youth for United World, a study scholarship program was launched for around ten Haitian youth, to allow them to pursue their university studies in Haiti, and for others to acquire good professional skills in the Dominican Republic close by, to be placed at the disposal of their own country.

Related AMU project:

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Belgium: Solidarity Concert Mon, 29 Dec 2014 06:00:50 +0000

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Warm greetings from GB & W Fri, 26 Dec 2014 05:17:14 +0000 Sorry, this page is currently not available in English.

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A more humane and fraternal Latin America Wed, 10 Dec 2014 10:33:56 +0000 20141210-02«64 years after the institution of the International Human Rights Day [10 December] and of the appeal to “all peoples of the world” launched by the United Nations General Assembly,” we, the members of UNIRedes, wish to make public our constitution on the network, in order to foster authentic partnership relations, and build a more just and fraternal world, in pursuit of total respect for human rights.» These were the opening lines of the “Manifesto” signed on the occasion of the International Day of Human Rights, by over 50 social organisations, initiatives and movements of 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries involved in UNIRedes.

What do they have in common? Commitment to social change through a culture based on brotherhood, as a social expression of Chiara Lubich’s charism of unity. They work on various fronts: the political, social, economic, intergenerational and cultural fields. Their main characteristics are: promotion of cooperation and participation of the various players involved.


The “Manifesto” expressed furthermore, the «Commitment to cultivate and spread in our environments, a culture that respects and protects the dignity, liberty and rights of every human being, and operate continually to stir up in our territory, a firm and convinced awareness of the value of each human being; spreading this vision to as many people as possible, also includes sharing with them experiences, good practices, material for the education and qualification of our members, deficiencies. for reciprocal support without geographic or idiomatic barriers, and grow in the awareness that we are all part of one family.»


In short, UNIRedes wishes to make public its willingness to cooperate and “support all those who want to work together, and therefore make justice and fraternity more visible and concrete, and as the force which can bridge the lack of dignity many people are subjected to.» This is why they are launching «a public appeal to the government institutions and organisations of civil society, and to those individuals who support initiatives and social actions, to merge and share forces, in order to build a world in which the rights of each person are not violated but protected and guaranteed.» Unite therefore, the efforts of people who have been committed for years in the existential outskirts of society in Latin America to construct a more fraternal world.

For further information: ( )

Contacts: (AR) / (BR)

Organisations that are members of UNIRedes:

mapa-UNIRedes2014Apadis (Asociación de Padres de Ayuda al Discapacitado) – AR

Asociación Civil Nuevo Sol – AR

Associação de Apoio à Criança e ao Adolescente (AACA) – BR

Associação de Apoio à Família, ao Grupo e à Comunidade do Distrito Federal (Afago-DF) – BR

Associação de Apoio à Família, ao Grupo e à Comunidade de São Paulo (Afago-SP) – BR

Associação Famílias em Solidariedade (Afaso) – BR

Associação Famílias em Solidariedade de Cascavel (Afasovel) – BR

Associação Nacional por uma Economia de Comunhão (Anpecom) – BR

Associação Civitas – BR

Associação Pró-Adoções a Distância (Apadi) – BR

Associação Nossa Senhora Rainha da Paz (Anspaz) – BR

Casa de los Niños – Bolivia

Casa do Menor São Miguel Arcanjo – BR

Centro de Atención Integral Las Águilas – MEX

Centro Social Roger Cunha – BR

Codeso (Comunión para el Desarrollo Social) – UY

Colégio Santa Maria – MEX

Dispensario Medico Igino Giordani – MEX

Editora Cidade Nova – BR

Fazenda da Esperança – BR

Fundación Unisol – BO

Fundación Mundo Mejor – CO

Grupo Pensar – BR

Hacienda de la Esperanza de Guadalajara – MEX

Instituto Mundo Unido – BR

Núcleo de Ação Comunitária (NAC)/Núcleo Educacional Fiore – BR

Núcleo de Ação Voluntária (NAV) – BR

Promoción Integral de la Persona para una Sociedad Fraterna – MEX

Refúgio Urbano – MEX

Saúde, Diálogo e Comunhão – BR

Sociedade Movimento dos Focolari Nordeste/Escola Santa Maria – BR

Sociedade Movimento dos Focolari – BR

Unipar (Unidad y Participación) – PY

UNIRedes operates through social initiatives also in Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala and Venezuela.

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Gen Rosso in Monza with 120 teenagers Fri, 05 Dec 2014 05:00:21 +0000

GenRosso02During the concert tour of the Gen Rosso in Northern Italy (Monza and Brianza, from November 10 to 15) “it not only poured liters of water due to the never-ending rain, but also many graces that all those who took part in the project continue to share with us,” the 18 artists of the band upon their return wrote us. The students who were involved in the project were 120 coming from 11 different institutes: “For the first time we were able to involve so many schools.”

The project was requested and organized by the local community of the Focolare Movement, in collaboration with the Fraternità Capitanio” (Capitaniano Fraternity) , a community of people who live the gift of fraternity according to their particular characteristic as desired by Bartolomea Capitanio, a teacher who lived in Lovere (Northern Italy) during the first ten years of the Eighteenth Century.The Capitanio Fraternity has existed in Monza since 1977 as a community that welcomes young women in difficulty who want to go through re-education and recover their personal dignity so as to become builders of life for themselves and for others. «We found ourselves immediately in harmony with them and a friendships was born that will surely remain for a long time», the Gen Rosso continued. «At the end of the project we saw that these young boys and girls understood and totally welcomed the values intrinsic in the musical “Streetlight”. They spoke of family, of inner strength, of a new faith in oneself and to see them crying upon pur departure really touched our hearts … But we left each other with an ‘arrivederci’ (see you again), certain that we would meet again!».

Some of the faces and the experiences of these teens were broadcast on channel TG3 national.

GenRosso01“I never thought that in one week one could really like these people a lot, and instead this is what happened,” wrote Giada. “Each one of them puts their heart into what they do. And so it is a very big grace because everyday with the mottos that they share with us, they always teach us something new and encourage us to believe in our dreams.” Giada was in the group of the hip hop combination: “If you would get the chance,” she continued – I would advice anyone to try because, according to me, it is one of the most beautiful experiences that could happen to you!”.

In 2 days I was able to learn two choreographies and in 6 I got to know around 130 people who, putting it mildly, are stupendous, my second very much extended family.” another wrote. “You from Gen Rosso have made me grow and experience a part of my dream, you made me understand what these two words FRIENDSHIP and LOVE mean. Your teachings are like gold: unique and precious.”

Nostalgia for the experience lived, but also a great message of growth: this is what the “120 teenagers of Monza” carry in their hearts, recalling that – as the words of a song in the musical says – from now on “we will love one another’s journey”.


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Argentina: YouthFest 2014 “double the madness” Thu, 27 Nov 2014 05:00:34 +0000 fiesta-de-los-jovenes-4Every year in September in the Citadel Lia, in Argentina, the YouthFest is held; this time it was entitled: “Let’s live this madness” which was expressed through a show wherein, in the midst of the celebration of Carnival, it showed how many people, by wearing masks, lose their identity, and become part of an unruly and faceless crowd.

The performance showed, through workshops, theatre, experiences, music and choreographies, the importance of the choice of a lifestyle that goes against the current, based on evangelical love.

The day was so beautiful and involving that it impressed and took in the 120 participants from Mendoza, a city at the foot of the Argentinian Andes, who left the Citadel Lia with the desire in ther heart to repeat the YouthFest in their city.

So as to transform this dream into reality they needed to work a lot: just imagine that they had to bring the almost 100 youth actors who formed part of the show in the Citadel Lia to Mendoza, a trip of more than 900 kilometers, and also to house them for three days.

fiesta-de-los-jovenes-22The first show took place on November 10, in front of 500 people, among which were various class sections of a school, but also youth from the peripheries of the city. «We see many problems in our world – began the young actors on the stage – and some expect the others to find the solutions. Here, we are 90 youth from 20 Countries who have decided not to wait any longer. We want to be the protagonists of this change, and we have discovered the recipe: to work in building the unity of the human family».

The next day, the second performance was held, in a Convention Center 40 km. from Mendoza. Here too the tickets were all sold out, with 500 fully occupied seats and some people standing and also some teens who came precisely for this event from a school that is 250 km. away.

The young people who watched the show were positively surprised in seeing about a hundred young people their age coming from 20 different nations who, with great artistic talent, presented their way of life which was totally different from that imposed by society today.

In both shows the proposal of a lifestyle based on love that becomes concrete service towards the others, was welcomed and everyone left withtheir heart full of joy.

fiesta-de-los-jovenes-9But also for the “actors” themselves, the teens that spend a period of their life in the Citadel Lia, this tour was important because it showed that it’s possible to live the “madness of love” if each one does his or her own part, without looking at what has been done or what is yet to come, but only aiming at the present, using it well.

One among the many messages received through WhatsApp: «EVERYTHING WAS VERY BEAUTIFUL! It was truly a moment to live the title of the day: “Let’s live this madness”, because these 3 days were unforgettable. Even my friends who came were enthusiastic and very much moved! It was special for me in that I was able to get to know the young people who came from Citadel Lia. Let’s continue to live this madness together!».

Read also: Argentina, a thousand youth for a folly


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Art Exhibition: From Loppiano to Macau Mon, 03 Nov 2014 05:00:00 +0000 201411MostraHungMacao2Some of the original sculptures included in the display at the Macao Exhibit are “Silk Road Symphony,” “Promised Land,” “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” and “Matteo Ricci.”. They are the fruit of the personal expriences of Lau Kwok-Hung, in Hung art. Born in Hong Kong in 1953, the artist has been living in the international town of Loppiano since 2000 where he works at his studio and draws inspiration from the spirituality of unity. Instead of the traditional scalpel, Hung uses an oxy-acetylene flame at 3000 ° C. Drop by drop: that’s how Hung creates his sculptures, which seem to mimic Chinese calligraphic brush strokes, but a closer look reveals a tangle of rebar forming human figures in motion.     

201411MostraHungMacao1Each of the works on display in Macau has that andante quality which is the title of the exhibit. A term that plunges us onto  a musical landscape where there is metre and rhythm, but also an outgoing movement, the discovery of the other. We met up with Hung on his return from Asia.

How did this rather extraordinary experience of your solo exhibition in China come about?“In February of this year, I was in Macau. I was invited to the Seat of the Government by Madam Florinda Chan (Secretária para Administração and Justiça), to meet the leaders of the Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos and Municipais. At the end of my presentation of the artistic process I use, the leaders unanimously decided to hold an exhibition of my work within the year. The place they proposed for the exhibition was the prestigious Taipai-Houses Museum. Moreover, they decided to arrange the trip, the publication of an exhibition catalog in three languages ​​(Chinese, Portuguese and English) and the shipment of my sculptures by plane.”

Is it your first solo exhibition in China?
“I’ve done group exhibitions in the past, but this is the first solo exhibition in Asia. Many people were working behind the scenes. I’d especically like to mention Nico Casella who followed the beaurocratic process for obtaining the required documents and went the extra mile to ensure the safe arrival of the shipments. Then there’s Julian Andres Grajales who works with me at the studio, but there are so many others I should mention. . . The private viewing took place on September 25, marking the opening of the event that will last a month. On that occasion, Madam Florinda Chan invited me to conduct a guided tour, briefly presenting my work to the invited guests.”

201411MostraHungMacao3How long did you stay in Macau?
“I was there for ten days, during which I was able to meet many people and dialogue with them, both at the conferences and during the private tours I conducted. One particularly interactive meeting was the one with 700 students from Colegio Mateus Ricci who expressed genuine wonder and gratitude; but were also interested in the practical technique, the inspiration and the style.”

Were there any surprises?
“Yes! One of the many surprises was when the Administration of the Colegio Mateus Ricci decided to purchase one of my works for the 60th anniversary of their institute in 2015, the sculpture is dedicated to Matteo Ricci, man of dialogue.”

Has anything remained with you from this Asian experience?
“I have great gratitude in my heart for the many relationships that were begun with so many people. . . unity was the protagonist.

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Synod: meeting of the Focolare Movement with Synod Bishops Thu, 16 Oct 2014 05:00:10 +0000 20141016-02Marriage preparation, support for women with unwanted pregnancies, willingness to leave everything behind in order to take the Gospel to faraway lands: “Real life” emerged at the seat of the Pontifical Council for the Family on October 12, 2014 in Rome during a meeting of Synod Bishops and auditors with a group of families from the Focolare Movement. They were welcomed by Focolare president and co-president, Maria Voce and Jesús Morán. Among those who attended were Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, and the presidents of the Bishops Conferences of the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uruguay.

“How often do we parents make mistakes with our children? At times we’re too permissive, at times possessive, weak or inflexible when there’s no need to be. This is where the ‘begin again’ rule must apply, always being willing to recognise our mistakes and ask forgiveness. And when it’s a son or daughter who has erred, invite them to see their mistake, but at the same time demonstrate your trust.”

Often wounded internally by betrayals and guilty silences, the family remains an irreplaceable setting where life is generated and transmitted. Anna Friso (New Families) went on to say that anyone who works alongside families today has decided to live life on the “peripheries” because, “as Pope Francis says, a person is not a Christian in order to stay in the camp but to go into the peripheries of the world.” “And in the peripheries,” Friso continued, “a Christian cannot ask whether people are married in the Church, whether they live together or are separated. We welcome all just as they are. We love them, listen to them deeply and try to help them with their needs if we can. And, at the right moment, to each and every person, no matter the situation or background, we extend the same message: God loves you immensely. No human being is excluded from God’s love.”

20141016-03The bishops also listened to the story of Tiziana G. whose 13-year marriage had been made up of lies, arguments, pseudo-explanations and new disappointments. Then she met an old school friend and a new family life began. “I could have gone to a church where no one knew me, and receive Holy Communion,” she recounted, “but out of obedience I never did so.” Tiziana did not hide from the bishops the strong sense of “self-exclusion” she felt, “the great spiritual loneliness” that she experienced and the “huge discomfort while watching everyone else approach the altar while I remained in the pew. I felt abandoned, rejected, culpable.”

Then Paolo R. spoke who, although alone, remained in his marriage. It was a painful story that began with the abandonment by his wife, going through the separation and lawyers, until he found himself in an “interior desert.” But he decided to “wait” because “that,” he said, “is what Christian marriage is: a sealed box. You put your life in God’s hands, through the sacrament, through the person you marry, the person you’re in love with . . . but then love needs to be constructed, even amidst pain, one day after the other.”

Dieudonne and Emerthe Gatsinga from Rwanda

Also present at the meeting were Dieudonne and Emerthe Gatsinga, a couple from Kigali in Rwanda who are auditors at the Synod. They shared their experiences of accompanying families, newlyweds and engaged couples, mainly in their own country, but also in Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Congo. He is a gynaecologist, she is an economist. They were presented to the Pope: “When we married we promised not to be closed in on ourselves, but to give ourselves to others. That was 26 years ago. Now we have 8 children, 4 of whom are adopted, orphans of the Rwandan Genocide. It wasn’t easy to take care of 8 children during a period of social and economic crisis in our country and with so many painful memories behind us. But God helped us and now they our children are all grown: two of them have made us the grandparents of three children.” Their stories brought to life a text written by Chiara Lubich and read by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli during the meeting: “Only one thing constitutes, binds, and makes a family: love. . . When this love is burning in the hearts of each member of the family, then it’s alive, there are no unsolvable problems, no insurmountable obstacles, and no weeping over irreparable failures.”   

Photo gallery

(Source: SIR)

]]> 3 Maria Voce: a network of families capable of love and support Wed, 08 Oct 2014 05:03:11 +0000 MariaVoce_2014The many answers to the questionnaire give a very clear picture of the real-life situation of the family in the world. Are there any signs of hope among the many problems aired?

The first sign of hope is the Synod itself. Pope Francis wanted it, and this is a sign that the family is a priority even for the Pope. Trust in the Church as an institution has increased because people are discovering that the Church can be an anchor for the family. Another sign of hope is the great potential of families who live conjugal fidelity and openness to life, who support families marked by the problems of separation. These families are, so to say, a “resource”, because while caring and supporting others to carry their burdens,they help them not feel excluded from the Church, or worse still, from the love of God.

Several extracts of the Instrumentum laboris emphasize the need of renewed mercy in addressing family difficulties. Will this be the prevailing attitude at the Synod?

It seems illusory to expect extraordinary and universal solutions. We hope that the potential of the family, which I have spoken of, will emerge, and that it will not be just criticality. However, one cannot tone down the problem about the sacramental question. The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace. There may be others as well. Recently I received a letter from a Christian lady, who is civilly married to a divorced man. In spite of this fact, she has never felt excluded from the Church and at the distribution of the Eucharist she joins in the line, and the priest’s blessing strengthens the presence of Jesus in her. “I’m on a journey”, she said. It is a journey of faith, beyond the sacraments, that can lead to holiness.

When answering the questionnaire, most of the local Churches insisted on the difficulty encountered to understand the Church’s message on marriage and family. Does this mean that the contents have to be revised or does it mean that the language has to be altered?

Objections about the contents of the Magisterium documents may be made by those who want to bring to their own measure God’s plan for man and woman. However, some suggestions need to be made about the language of the documents, especially of those dealing with moral issues. More clarity, simplicity and conciseness are required. The average family lives a tight daily program, is pressed by various tasks and a lot of stress, and has no time to read. The Magisterium documents need to demonstrate agility, ability to comprehend the fatigue of those who, despite taking great pains, feel vulnerable.

When dealing with young couples, the Church is faced with the problem of re-evangelization, which, at the same time, is an educational problem. What can be done about this?

Recently, when the Focolare Movement was received in audience by Pope Francis, he reminded us of our duty “to educate” and to pass on the gifts we received to others. This suggestion is very dear to us. In fact, the Focolare Movement promotes an ongoing formation to all its members, from children to workers, from engaged couples to the elderly, from young people to separated persons, and so on. We are committed to give an ongoing formation that is always more appropriate. However, we have to admit that the media plays a great part – more negative than positive – in the field of the family and of young families. Some media programs introduce transgressive lifestyles and offer models of man and woman that lack reference to values. However, I am convinced there is a way we can plunge through!

The dark evil that disorientates families in many parts of the world is a danger mix of individualism and crises, even the economical crisis. What are the initiatives of the Focolare Movement to combat this mentality? 

A very important initiative is the network of families, who are close to families in difficulty through their discreet support that encourages reconciliation. For couples passing through serious marital difficulties, we have held weekend encounters in the little towns of the Movement. Through relational techniques by experts, but mainly through the contact with the spirituality of unity, these couples manage to find themselves in the hope of a future together. Relationships and meetings for those separated or abandoned alleviate the burden of their loneliness and strengthen their commitment of fidelity to the sacrament. There are also initiatives for couples who have started a new union, sharing with them the educational experience of the children and the desire to feel embraced by the Church and, above all, by God’s love. Having in mind the objective to prevent marriage breakdown, we have recently intensified both our commitment to work for young families and also to instill back into our youth the enchantment of “forever”.

Translated in English from the original article in Italian:

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Sport and religions together for peace in the world Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:05:23 +0000 20140902-03
In audience with Pope Francis

“Maradona passes  … and Baggio scores!” No, it was not just nostalgia. Last night at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the Interfaith Match for Peace, which was the idea of Pope Francis, gave not only flashes of footballing magic, but also an unprecedented opportunity to convey a message capable of reaching dozens of countries that were linked up.

“People, especially young people, look at you with admiration for your athletic ability,” the Pope said receiving in audience the athletes prior to the event, ”even through your daily attitudes, full of faith and spirituality, humanity and altruism, you can be a witness in favour of the ideals of peaceful coexistence and civil society, for the building up of a civilization based on love, solidarity and peace.”

A topical message, in a time of serious tensions in many areas of the world, which well expressed the many organizations that have joined and supported the initiative, including the Focolare which in the words of Maria Voce, the current president, called it: “A valuable contribution to the formation of a new mentality, ready to welcome and dialogue. Its realization – she continued – will be a sign of hope and throw new seeds of peace into the hearts of many.”

The match promoted the efforts of two organizations working in direct support of the weaker sections of society, in Europe, in South America and in the rest of the world, who gave their names to the participating teams and benefited from the collections. On the one hand Scholas Occurrentes, an educational institution promoted by the pope himself, with its headquarters at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican, and on the other side, the P.U.P.I. Foundation, set up by Paula and Javier Zanetti, legendary former captain of Inter Milan, champions of Europe in 2010, and also a member of the Argentinean national team. This organisation has promoted and supported adoption programs at a distance for the past ten years and has helped to relieve the different conditions of discomfort through the project  “Un’alternativa di Vita” (An option for Life), aimed at children aged 3 to 13 years living in socio-economically disadvantaged parts of the world.

20140902-02After a song performed by the Argentinean actress and singer Tini Stoessel, well known for her role as Violetta in a Disney production of that name, the competition got underway with 52 athletes, some of whom are real stars of the ball. There was the legendary Diego Armando Maradona, still able to remain on the field for 90 minutes at 53; the always-exciting touch of Roberto Baggio, who hasn’t played since May 2004, but agreed to come back for the occasion and put on his boots. On the field also Shevchenko, Trezeguet and Del Piero, unforgotten champions of Milan, first, and Juventus, as well as other players currently playing, from every corner of the globe. Also there was wide media coverage: 12 foreign TV stations present, in addition to RAI.

For the record, the match ended with the result of 6-3 for the PUPI team but the real winner was the message of peace that from the Stadio Olimpico was sent all over the world: a hard game, that has just started, but that is possible to win.


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