The Focolare Movement, or Work of Mary, is a private, universal association of pontifical right, sustained by the spirituality of unity that guided its founding and development. Its members come from different ethnic groups, religions, cultures and social categories. It is divided into branches and movements with widespread membership, made up of lay people (adults, children, teenagers, children), religious men and women, priests, bishops.
Origin: Trent, December 7, 1943, Chiara Lubich, who was in her early twenties, consacrated herself to God. Soon after, other young women began to follow her, and the first Focolare community, consisting of people of different ages and vocations and coming from different backgrounds, started to take shape.
Spirituality:The members of the Focolare follow the path of love, personally and communally, according to the Movement’s gospel-rooted spirituality, and in keeping with that “constant mutual love that makes unity possible and generates the presence of Jesus among those gathered in his name”. (cf Mt 18, 20 and the introduction to the General Statutes of the Movement). The lifestyle generated by this spirituality helps to build peace and unity.
The Specific Purpose of the Movement is to contribute towards the fulfilment of Jesus’ prayer to the Father: “May they all be one” (Jn 17,21). Its goal is universal brotherhood, so it is committed to contribute to an ever greater unity within the Catholic Church between individuals, institutions, associations, groups and movements; to establish fellowship and common witness with Christians of other Churches; to achieve dialogue, shared activities, and the deepest union possible in God with those who follow other religions; to dialogue and cooperate with people of non-religious convictions; to dialogue with people engaged in the various fields of culture and human realities.
Membership: The Movement is present in 194 countries in all five continents. Its centres are found in 80 countries. There are about 120,000 members within its various structures, and approximately another million and a half who share closely in the Movement’s life and support its work. It is estimated that another million are reached regularly through various initiatives.
Besides Catholic Christians, there are approximately 25,000 Christians from 350 Churches and ecclesial communities that form part of the Movement. More than 7,000 followers of great religions and 10,000 people of non-religious beliefs or cultures share spirituality and purposes in various ways
Structures for formation and witness
– 24 “little towns”, found in different countries; they are models of cities with different characteristics and in various stages of development, with homes, schools, work activities, places of prayer. They offer a priviliged environment for formation and a living witness in the spirituality of unity and its practice.
– “Mariapolis Centres” in 46 counties; these are meeting places and formation centres, in particular for members of the Focolare Movement. The international Mariapolis Centre is located at Castelgandolfo, Rome.
– Schools that offer training in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, inculturation, in dealing with social issues and in going deeper about the challenges of secularization.
Fields of research
– Abba School: the professors and experts in various disciplines that form this study centre seek to explore and eleborate the doctrinal implications in the charism of unity.
– Sophia University Institute, is an academic centre for education and research, located at the international “little town” of Loppiano (Incisa Valdarno-FI). It is interdisciplinary, intercultural, intergenerational (www.iu-sophia.org).
– International networks link scholars, professionals, students and workers in various fields, such as communication, law, art, medicine, pedagogy, psychology, architecture, sport, promoting conferences, training courses, publications.
– The Economy of Communion, inspires the current economic management of more than 860 businesses and promotes an economic practice and culture geared towards communion, gratuity and reciprocity. It has been studied in more than 300 dissertations and doctoral theses in 28 countries (www.edc-online.org).
– The Movement for Unity in Politics, an international workshop for political reflection and practice. It is made up of elected politicians of different parties, diplomats, public officials, students of political science and active citizens, and it promotes the concept of fraternity as the base of institutional, legislative and administrative initiatives. Schools for young people to encouage participation and active citizenship are one of its projects(www.mppu.org).
– New Humanity, a non-governmental organization of the first level, is recognized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and a UNESCO partner for peace education (www.new-humanity.org).
Initiatives to promote international solidarity
– More than 1000 social projects and activities in various countries of the world.
– Approximately 60 projects in 45 countries to support international cooperation and development promoted by “Action for a United World” (AMU), a non-governmental organization(www.amu-it.eu).
– 99 projects in 49 countries and approximately 15,000 supportive initiatives of “Distance Support”, promoted by “AFN onlus” (www.famiglienuove.org).
– “Città Nuova”, the Italian publishing house (www.cittanuova.it); 25 publishing houses in other countries.
– “Città Nuova”, the magazine of opinion with 37 editions in 23 languages.
– “Città Nuova online”, the online newspaper (www.cittanuova.it).
– “Nuova Umanità”, a bimonthly cultural review, in Italian and English.
– “Gen’s” and “Unità e Carismi”, bimonthly magazines on ecclesial life, with 15 editions in 8 languages.
– “Teen’s” and “Big”, monthly magazines for teens and children, respectively in Italian.
– “Word of Life”, a monthly leaflet with a commentary on a passage from the Scripture, in 96 languages and more than 2 million copies; also broadcast via radio, television and the internet.
– The international website (www.focolare.org), in 7 languages, with 27 channels on social networks.
– “Mariapoli”, a monthly bulletin of information for internal use of the Movement, in 9 languages.
– CSC Media, a centre that produces audiovisual material for formation and communication among members of the Movement.
Government: at the head of the Movement there is the President (a woman by statute), assisted by the Co-President and the General Council, with a six-year term that can be renewed only once. The current president is Maria Voce and the co-president is Jesús Morán Cepedano. The Movement is divided into zones, territories that vary geographically and culturally.
Pontifical approvals: the Focolare Movement was first approved by the Holy See in 1962. The General Statutes were approved by a decree of the Pontifical Council of the Laity on 29th June 1990. A subsequent approval of further developments took place on 15th March 2007.
For further information:
Focolare Information Service
International Centre of the Focolare Movement
via Frascati 306 – 00040 Rocca di Papa (Rome)
tel. 06.947989 – cell. +39 335 7003675 – +39 348 4754063
Official international website: www.focolare.org