Circulating the gifts embodied in different religious families is good for the health of the Church, a process favoured by the spirituality of unity of Chiara Lubich.

A Church which ‘Goes Forth’, a ‘field hospital’. Pope Francis has used many different ways to express how he’d like to see the Church today. A church capable of warming the hearts of the faithful, healing their wounds and going out towards ‘existential peripheries’. To be able to respond well to the demands of today’s fragmented and wounded world, the Church must surely draw on all the talents and strengths it contains. This is particularly true in the case of its charisms, those ‘forces for renewal’ born in the Church throughout its history in response to precise circumstances and events, which then took permanent shape in a host of religious families. But how should they turn to each other, find ways of being together, of acting in a united way, when the Holy Spirit created them all distinct?!

A convention entitled “Charisms in communion: the prophecy of Chiara Lubich”, 8-9 February at the Mariapolis Centre, Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, Italy, aimed to demonstrate some of the tools which Chiara Lubich’s charism of unity can offer to achieve this end. The 400 participants included members of religious orders, consecrated men and women, and Catholic laity, together with some members of the Orthodox Churches. Representing 100 different religious families and 33 countries, they engaged in dialogue and benefitted from the different perspectives which emerge when placing in communion their own identities, and in so doing, recognizing a more beautiful, gift-laden, attractive Church.

According to Focolare President, Maria Voce, in her address, the title of the meeting “stimulates us to listen and live as reciprocal gifts, because by offering the richness of each specific charism, we experience authentic sharing (…) to give to the world a credible face of the Church”.

Cardinal João Braz De Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life affirmed, “when consecrated men and women come into contact with the Focolare Movement, they are helped and incentivized to value the originality of their own charism, to renew relationships of fraternity within their own Institutes, to appreciate and love other charisms as their own”.

The two day meeting produced a dynamic environment for discovering how these treasures within the Church can become ever more beautiful and fruitful, in announcing the Gospel and in enhancing the credibility of the Church. The presence of around fifty lay members of various religious families made a significant contribution in this context.

“The charisms are a source of joy and express the beauty of the Church,” explained Padre Fabio Ciardi, Oblate of Mary Immaculate and theologian of consecrated life. “They make you exclaim, ‘How beautiful this is!’”

“When I was a novice, I heard Chiara encourage us to ‘love the other congregation as our own’,” recalled canon lawyer Sr Tiziana Merletti, of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. “And I understood that unity really is a fundamental value.”

“We no longer talk about adapting the indispensable contribution of charismatic realities to the mission of the Church, but rather of circulating the gifts of all for the benefit of all (…) to discern the most suitable ways of serving the proclamation of the Gospel” asserted Piero Coda, President of Sophia University Institute, Loppiano. “We have to arrive at a radical conversion,” he added, “to reach the point of loving the other, their charism, their religious family, more than our own charism and religious family. Only in this way can the Church truly be charismatic and missionary!”

Lorenzo Russo


  • Maravilhoso!!! Pois como pregar um diálogo interreligioso sem a Unidade dos carismas da própria religião? Sem todos perceberem na vida de todas congregações unidas a belíssima realidade da frase clássica “olha como se amam”!!!
    O Amor, traz Paz, compaixão, perdão, conversão, respeito e muita Luz!!!

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