A time for fraternity at Loppiano, the “young” city
Often defined as “a laboratory of fraternity,” Loppiano – the little town of the Focolare situated in the province of Florence, Italy – with its citizens coming from every nation and race, served as a backdrop to the celebration of May 1st. Since this tradition began 35 years ago, it has seen the participation of a total of over 150,000 young people. Fraternity was the program of the day, all lit up by a radiant sun. The over 5,000 young people who arrived from all over Italy, from Western and Eastern Europe, from Algeria, Africa and Asia, were distributed in four different workshops: that of sports entitled: “Fraternity: a game that requires teamwork”; that of the media: “Fraternity Online”; of Politics: “Liberty, equality … and fraternity?”; and lastly, that of art, entitled “FraternArt.” The workshops offered a forum for the exchange of experiences on how fraternity is practiced in different countries. The telephone link-up with the Holy Land in the afternoon gave a planetary dimension to fraternity’s journey in time.

Fraternity – motor of a world at peace, a united world
Chiara Lubich sent a message to the young people gathered at Loppiano and at the little town “Arco Iris” in Lisbon, Portugal. In her message she wished that everyone may respond to the challenge of fraternity, “the motor of a world at peace and a united world.” “In a world restlessly searching for God, that believes only in the things it can touch, it is possible to make room for Jesus himself, drawing him to us, to the point that he makes himself present in our midst.” How? “By practicing the art of loving 100%, until the presence of Jesus in your midst is felt everywhere, there where you find yourselves and where the Risen Jesus will fill you with his gifts – a joy you have never known before, a peace you have never experienced, an abundance of light, so that you can bring the world together in unity.”

Lisbon: the worldwide web of unity
Lisbon was the venue of the youth meeting on May 1st. They were about 1,000 coming from Portugal, Spain and Timor. The program of the day was all said in the title: www.deunidade. In the Iberian peninsula, memories are still vivid of the March 11 tragedy in Madrid, but the experiences of those who lived through the difficult experience of post-March 11 brought to light that it is possible to forgive; in fact, this is the only way to build true fraternity among people of different religions. And this is true not only in one’s own country but throughout the world, which can thus be enveloped in a net of love. Special guest at the meeting: Imam Allal Bachar of Spain.

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