This year the Focolare Movement’s General Council has chosen a significant venue for its annual retreat: the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem.

The Ecumenical Institute at Tantur, located on the border between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, is an oasis of hospitality and fellowship. It welcomes anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the complex reality of Jerusalem, with its many cultures, peoples, religions and Christian traditions. That is why it is a suitable location for the annual retreat of the General Council of the Focolare Movement, being held there from 10-17th February.

Friederike Koller and Angel Bartol, the central delegates of the Movement and organisers of the retreat, said this meeting embraces past, present and future. “A journey to the Holy Land is always a pilgrimage that calls on us to look to the past, to the historical foundations of the Christian faith and its roots in Judaism. Regarding the present, we will address one of the principle themes of the year 2019, which is the aspect of the ‘communion of goods, economy and work’. The intention is to reclaim within the Movement as a whole a radical Gospel lifestyle concerning the communion of goods, including material goods. Then, on the basis of an alternative lifestyle imbued with the charism of unity, we will seek answers to the economic challenges that present themselves today. We will also look to the future, considering two important subjects: work for and with the new generations, and preparations for the General Assembly in 2020.”

Angel Bartol emphasised the importance of thoroughly applying the chosen working method, considering there are 62 participants at the meeting. “Whether we work in plenary or in small groups, we are always on pilgrimage. We feel we are continuously journeying with Jesus who wants to be present, living and active in our midst. This is possible when each one of us is ready to offer our point of view without being attached to it”. Friederike Koller added, “In this way we too can make a small contribution towards peace, which the Word of Life for this month encourages us to pursue and that the world, and especially this city, need so much.”

Joachim Schwind

Link: Focolare President Maria Voce’s greeting as the group left for Jerusalem

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