USA OFFICIAL USA WEBSITE Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:40:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Teens Word of Life | October 2014 Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:38:41 +0000 2014-10-wol-teens-featured« I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE. WHOEVER COMES TO ME WILL NEVER BE HUNGRY, AND WHOEVER BELIEVES IN ME WILL NEVER BE THIRSTY. »

(Jn 6:35)

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Children’s Word of Life | October 2014 Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:33:45 +0000 2014-10-wol-children-featured


(Jn 6:35)

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YFUW Mon, 06 Oct 2014 03:34:35 +0000 Youth for a United World. Recent article: “Mutual love can encourage people to reach out””]]> Youth for a United World. Recent article: “Mutual love can encourage people to reach out””]]> 0 New City Press Mon, 06 Oct 2014 03:26:21 +0000 New Releases: Gospel Joy, 5 Steps to Great Parenting, Now”]]> New Releases: Gospel Joy, 5 Steps to Great Parenting, Now”]]> 0 Gen Verde Mon, 06 Oct 2014 03:22:43 +0000 International Performing Arts Group. Their new show: “MUSIC MADE TO BE PLAYED”]]> International Performing Arts Group. Their new show: “MUSIC MADE TO BE PLAYED”]]> 0 Gen Rosso Mon, 06 Oct 2014 03:19:13 +0000 International Performing Arts Group – “featuring Strong Without Violence”]]> International Performing Arts Group – “featuring Strong Without Violence”]]> 0 7 ways to live a full life at 93 Mon, 06 Oct 2014 03:10:52 +0000 Agatha O'DonnellThe world is moving faster and I’m moving slower. Every time I figure out how a thing works someone comes up with something better and, of course, faster.

The eyes are failing and the hearing’s shot. The joints are creaking and the digestive system isn’t doing much better, but I’ve discovered lots of chances to be creative in problem solving. Let me share with you seven ways that I have learned to keep living a full life at 93.

1. Giving

The space one occupies as we grow older shrinks, and I’m constantly eliminating things once thought to be indispensable. It’s easier to do this, when one is in the habit of keeping only what one needs. Recently, I gave something away that afterward I realized I needed. Then I thought that the person would make good use of it, and God would take care of me. In fact, a few days later I received from someone else exactly the thing I had given away. So I’ve just decided that giving as a lifestyle never ages, and the hundredfold is always new.

2. New friendship

Everyone is concerned about children when they start school and have to make all new friends, but no one even thinks about a 90-year-old moving into an assisted-living facility and having to start from scratch. She too has to make new friends, because the ones she knew have all died, and she can’t even go home at the end of the day! I’ve had to learn to listen to people who may think very differently and figure out just how each one wants to be loved. I make many mistakes and want to give up at times, but I always try to remember to start again.

3. Prayer

Something that actually gets easier as one gets older is spending more time praying. I used to be very active, so now I try to be just as active praying for everyone. I try to find out everything that is going on, so my list of intentions is up to date. I pray one rosary for my family, another for the Church and the Focolare family here and around the globe, and finally one for all of the problems in the world. I miss going to Mass and feel blessed whenever someone comes to take me, or the priest is able to come where I live. You might think that by 93 I would have worked out the kinks in my life, but I find myself doing the same things I’ve been trying to correct my entire life. Thank God I have learned how to start again in the next moment. Maybe that’s what keeps me young.

4. Health

I’ve found new ways to live the aspect of my life that deals with health and illness. Since it’s pretty clear that my holy journey is nearing its completion, it is still wonderful to be able to go to exercise class, to eat properly, to put in my eye drops and take all my medications as prescribed. I admit that I sometimes get a little downhearted when I see the cost of medications, but then I try to remember to trust in God. I have a pretty active relationship with those who have left for heaven. I entrust different things to different people and ask for strength when the going gets a little tough. I have also been helped by John Paul II’s Letter to the Elderly and by the example of his life. It takes a real act of faith to believe in the value of your life when many around you see things differently.

5. Harmony

I don’t need many clothes or much furniture, but I try to keep what I have in order. With my eyesight so poor, I’m not sure if the colors match, and I might be tempted to think, “Who cares anyway?” But then I remember that even at 93 I have to try to be an expression of the beauty of God in the way I dress and the harmony of my apartment. This gives so much meaning to the little things I’m still able to do.

6. Learning

I’ve always loved learning new things, so I study the documents of the Holy Father (when I can get them in big print) and watch DVDs on the catechism or other topics. I know I’ll never practice nursing again, but it’s part of my vocation to stay on top of the latest advances in my profession. So I keep up to date, and maybe something I read or hear might be useful for someone else. I love wisdom and pray often to the Holy Spirit to help me not say useless words.

7. Connections

I used to keep in touch with people by sending cards or by phone. Instead, times have changed, and, just as I needed to learn to drive at 50, I now have had to learn how to use email so I can get the news and stay in touch with everyone. It is slow going, since I only know how to move that mouse in one particular way. I almost gave up recently, but my family and friends helped me to keep up my courage. It almost seems like a miracle, but, notwithstanding my eyesight, I read every issue of Living City from cover to cover. I also watch the news every day to keep myself informed of what’s going on in the world. Reading about a world that tends toward unity helps me to be hopeful in the midst of so much tragedy. I really believe in a united world.

My conclusion? Yes, it is a little challenging to be 93, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a full and rewarding time.

Agatha O’Donnell

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Focolare Word of Life – October 2014 Thu, 02 Oct 2014 02:02:21 +0000

Focolare Word of Life Logo

In his Gospel John narrates that Jesus went to Capernaum after the multiplication of the loaves, and there, in his discourse on the bread of life, he said: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6:27).
For those who were listening to him it was evident that he was speaking of manna and the expectations of a “second” manna that would come down from heaven during the Messianic times.
Shortly afterwards, in that same discourse, Jesus presents himself to the crowd, which has not yet understood, as the true “bread that comes down from heaven”
(Jn 6:51), which must be accepted through faith:

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Jesus already sees himself as bread. This, then, is the ultimate purpose of his life on earth: to become bread in order to be eaten. To become bread in order to communicate his life to us, to transform us into himself.
Up to this point the spiritual significance of these words, with their references to the Old Testament, is clear. But the discourse becomes mysterious and difficult when further ahead Jesus says of himself: “the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh”’ (Jn 6:51), and “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53),
It’s the announcement of the Eucharist that scandalizes and distances many disciples. Yet this is Jesus’ greatest gift to humanity: this intimate union with him present in the sacrament of the Eucharist, which satisfies body and soul and gives the fullness of joy.
When we are nourished by this bread, we no longer hunger, in the sense that our every desire for love and truth is satisfied by the one who is love itself, truth itself.

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

It is true, this bread nourishes us with him even here on earth, and it is given to us in order that we in turn satisfy the spiritual and material hunger of the people around us.
Christ is proclaimed to the world not so much through the Eucharist, but through the lives of Christians nourished by the Eucharist and by the Word. They preach the Gospel with their lives and words, thereby bringing the presence of Christ in the midst of other men and women.
The life of the Christian community, thanks to the Eucharist, becomes the life of Jesus — a life capable of giving love, the life of God, to others.

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

By using the image of bread, Jesus teaches us the most authentic and most Christian way to love our neighbor.
What does loving really mean?
Loving means “making ourselves one” with everyone, making ourselves one in what others want, in the smallest and most insignificant things, in things that might not be very important to us but that others are interested in.
Jesus gave us a stupendous example of this way of loving by making himself “bread” for us. He makes himself “bread” in order to enter within everyone, to make himself edible, to make himself one with everyone, to serve, to love everyone.
So we too should make ourselves one to the point of allowing ourselves to be “eaten.”
This is love: making ourselves one in a way that makes others feel nourished by our love, comforted, uplifted, understood.

Chiara Lubich

Each month a Scripture passage is offered as a guide and inspiration for daily living. This commentary, translated into 96 different languages and dialects, reaches several million people worldwide through print, radio, television and the Internet. Ever since the Focolare’s beginnings, founder Chiara Lubich (1920–2008) wrote her commentaries each month. This one was originally published in August 2000.

Read more on this topic:

  1. Leahy, Brendan. His Mass and Ours: Meditations on Living Eucharistically. New City Press, Hyde Park, New York, 2012.
  2. Lubich, Chiara. “Jesus in the Eucharist,” Essential Writings. New City Press, Hyde Park, New York, 2007, p.129.
  3. Lubich, Chiara. “Making ourselves one,” The Art of Loving. New City Press, Hyde Park, New York, 2010, p.67.

Next month:

November 2014:
“For with you is the fountain of life” (Ps 36:9).

The commentary to the Word of Life is translated into 96 different languages and dialects and reaches more than 14 million people worldwide through print, radio, and TV media. Click here to view our Word of Life archives…

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Contemplate, go out and educate: Pope Francis’ words to the Focolare Wed, 01 Oct 2014 02:26:18 +0000 Francis assembly 2014Joy, emotions, surprise and also curiosity, were among the many, diverse sentiments and expectations of the 500 participants of the Focolari General Assembly with Pope Francis. The group, in fact, is composed of people coming from 137 countries: Catholics, Christians of other churches, and some also without any religious belief.

Maria Voce took the floor to present the Assembly gathered in the Clementina Hall in the Vatican, and addressed the Pope with these words:  «Those present here today, are of various ages, cultures, vocations, are lay and consecrated people, virgins and married, and people who have lived an exciting experience of communion in which, due to continually renewed mutual love, have undertaken a journey of community awareness, in an attitude of listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, so as to identify the guidelines to be followed in order to respond to the sufferings and hopes of humanity today with our specific charisma of unity.»

The fact that she cited the Evangelii Gaudium was significant: «It is almost like a school-workshop where we practiced sharing and thinking and working with Jesus in our midst, to rediscover our being a people born from the Gospel and, therefore, called to live and bear witness to our charisma and bring it to everyone. Your apostolic encouragement has been, undoubtedly, one of the spotlights that enlightened our work sessions.»  She added another important note that testified to the “ecumenical” aspect of the Focolari Assembly: «We felt the urge to seek with faith, new roads that could allow our Christian brothers and sisters and members of the Movement who belong to various Churches, to participate ever more fully in the life and organization of the Movement.»

And Pope Francis exhorted all to live the charisma of unity without compromise, up to the end.
(Vatican Radio) Half a century on from the Second Vatican Council, he said, they are called, with the whole Church, to follow a new path of evangelization, witnessing God’s love to all and in particular to the poor and most marginalized.

Greeting especially the Focolari president, Maria Voce, who has been elected to a second term of office, the Pope said the movement was born from a tiny seed in the Church and has grown into a tree whose branches spread through all kinds of Christian families and through all different religions as well.

Pope Francis said the movement, which is also known as the Work of Mary, flowed from a particular gift of the Holy Spirit which is the charism of unity. The Focolari founder,Chiara Lubich, he said, was an extraordinary witness to that gift which she spread to so many different parts of the world.

The Pope also offered three words upon which all members of the movement can base their efforts as they seek to contribute to the work of challenging task of evangelization today. Firstly, he said, contemplation is an indispensable condition for effective action. Secondly, he said, they must go out in a spirit of dialogue, giving freely of themselves just as Jesus gave his life for us on the Cross. Finally, the Pope stressed the importance of forming young people, so that they too can serve the needs, concerns and hopes of men and women in the world today.

From Vatican Radio website

Full text of Pope’s address

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Focolari Assembly: a journey towards tangible unity Sat, 20 Sep 2014 19:26:25 +0000

Heinrich Walter, President of Schönstatt with Jesús Moran.

Representative of other Christian movements, brothers and sisters of various religious faiths and agnostics: some travelled far to participate in this afternoon’s event, such as Emily Soloff from Chicago, a member of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) who cancelled other appointments in order to attend, as she saw the importance of the event, and likewise, Fr. Heinrich Walter, President of the Schoenstatt Presidium. Also Jurif Pismak from Russia, a friend who professes non-religious beliefs made it easily to the Congress Hall of Castel Gandolfo, where the Focolari Assembly is being held (1-28 September).

This is a testimonial of a journey that traces way back to the past, and which has come to uphold its belief that: “In a assembly like ours which looks to the future, firmly rooted to its source, such an event, such a memorable afternoon could not be missed. Together with all of you we are ever more true to our own calling,” were the closing remarks of Jesús Moran, the newly elected Focolari Co-President.

20140919-04 Gerard Pross

Maria Voce with Gerard Pross, leader of a network of over 100 evangelical movemements.

Maria Voce with Gerard Pross, leader of a network of over 100 evangelical movemements.

All present speak in the name of a vaster network of dialogue, “which we consider a true support for the construction of universal brotherhood,” Maria Voce affirmed. In the “Together for Europe” organisation, for example, there are more than 300 Christian movements,  bound to each other by a pact of unity which “unites the spiritual and ‘politics’ and breaks down the barriers to work for peace,” declared Gérard Testard, French, and past President of Fondácio. Also present were the founding members who had started this journey with Chiara Lubich years ago: Thomas Römer of the Ymca of Munich and Gerhard Pross, head of a network of over 100 evangelical movements; Cesare Zucconi and Valeria Martano of the Comunity of Sant’Egidio, on their return from Antwerp where the 28th international meeting for peace in the spirit of Assisi was held, conveyed the greetings of Andrea Riccardi. Together they encouraged the Focolari to continue living in a more forceful manner, this ideal of brotherhood. From the Orient came the best wishes of the Buddhist monks of the Teravada tradition of Thailand, and the Japanese members of the Risho-Kosei Kai.


Inter-religious delegation (Christina Lee, Mustafa Cenape, Shahrzad Houshmand, Adnane Mokrani, Hiromasa Tanaka, Katsuotishi Mizumo)

Inter-religious delegation (Christina Lee, Mustafa Cenape, Shahrzad Houshmand, Adnane Mokrani, Hiromasa Tanaka, Katsuotishi Mizumo)

Together, as players of dialogue, is the vision that emerged from the testimonials of the Muslim friends, Dr. Adnane Mokrani, and Professor Shahrzad Houshmand, Iranian theologian, who shared her experience with Chiara Lubich: “I learned from her the force of universal faith which touches the hearts of all believers, also those of Muslims.” We are dealing with a “new evangelization which works not only for the formal conversion of hearts, but for the deep conversion of souls.”  The theologian also launched an appeal to the Focolari Assembly which will be received by the Pope on 26 September: to convey to Pope Francis our support in the effort to stop the tragedies being perpetrated, for “the blood of Jesus is still being spilt today.”

Another distinctive stretch of the dialogue: life. This was underlined by Emily Soloff, an American Jew. “I see an assembly infused with life. For me the dialogue with the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists in the Focolare has always been a dialogue of life,” which begins with the experience of each one, mutual understanding taking precedence over the theological, doctrinal and philosophical aspects.

“I have always been struck” – specified Lisa Palmieri Billig, also an American, and member of the Jewish Committee – “by your idea of being the first to go towards the others to offer love. You give empathy, and a concrete remedy to the rampant hatred in today’s society.”

“Chiara Lubich had understood, from the very start, that unity is built with the others and not against the others, and that she could not let aside the other half of the world which does not profess any religious faith,” were the words of Luciana Scalacci, an agnostic, who declared that she was “lucky to have been invited to the Assembly.”  In these weeks she took part in fact, in the various work sessions. She also encouraged all, in remembrance of Chiara, to always keep in mind the other cultures.

20140919-05The various interventions were “precious pearls that enrich the heritage we have all received,” affirmed Maria Voce. A heritage we have “to safeguard together and multiply for the benefit of humanity,” she stressed – just before the election of the new directors of the Focolari Movement – since this is a journey we have to undertake together. And concluded with an image: “Chiara’s embrace which reaches out to all, and leads all towards God, an embrace made visible today, due to the presence of all of you here.”

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