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Purpose and objectives: Thousands of believers from various religions share the spirit of the Focolare, inasmuch as it relates to their faith, and collaborate actively to achieve its goal of universal brotherhood.

The dialogue that the Focolare promotes is based on its spirituality, focusing in particular on love. This resonates immediately with persons of other religions and cultures because of the Golden Rule, formulated in many ways, but often stated as: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” By living these words together with persons of other faiths, a very constructive dialogue is established.

Some of the effects of this dialogue are rediscovering one’s own religious roots, as well as understanding all that unites us, and living an experience of fraternity. This spirit of communion contributes then toward accomplishing more unity within the human family.

Their joint commitment to be builders of unity and peace has an effect in places where violence and racial or religious intolerance attempt to dig an abyss between persons and groups. Significant humanitarian projects have developed from these efforts to live brotherhood.

Over the years, dialogue has opened up and developed with Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists, with Shiite and Sunni Muslims, with Jews who are orthodox, conservative or reformed, with various currents of Hinduism, and with followers of the traditional African religions. There have been also contacts with Shinto Buddhists, Sikhs and members of the Baha’i faith.

History: In 1977 Chiara Lubich was awarded the Templeton Prize in London for progress in religion. As she was presenting her experience to a large audience, including persons of various religions, she had the profound intuition that all those present were one family. As she exited, the first to express their appreciation for her talk were believers of different religious traditions.

This was a confirmation that the Focolare spirituality could also be lived not only by Christians, but, in some way, by people of other faiths. This event was for her a sign from God, helping her understand that the Movement needed to open itself up to dialogue with people of every religious tradition.

New developments: A permanent school for interreligious dialogue has been established at the Focolare’s little city of Tagaytay, near Manila in the Philippines. It is also a meeting place for people who want to spread the spirituality of unity in Asia.

Since 2002, the Movement has sponsored a number of symposia: Jewish-Christian, Islamic-Christian, Buddhist-Christian and Hindu-Christian. These international conferences promote reciprocal knowledge, deepen dialogue, further friendship, and increase interreligious and intercultural fraternity.

The “Wings of Unity” project involves educators and scholars who are both Muslim and Christian. They are following a path of dialogue and collaboration. It is co-directed by Rev. Dr. Piero Coda, rector of Sophia University Institute, and Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali, director of the Islamic Centre of England. Innovative paths in dialogue are being opened through seminars, public conferences, a summer course and various publications. Support for the project comes from Sophia University Institute, the Islamic Centre of England in London, and the Risalat International Institute in Qum, Iran.

Religions for Peace, which began as the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP), works to promote peace through interreligious collaboration. The Focolare Movement has collaborated with it since 1982. In 1994 Chiara Lubich was named an honorary president. In 2013 Maria Voce, president of the Focolare Movement for two six-year terms (2008-2014 and 2014-2020) was named a co-president of the Religions for Peace’s World Council.

Contact:  Center for Interreligious Dialogue – Focolare Movement

Via Frascati, 306 - 00040 Rocca di Papa, Rome, Italy

email: inter.rel@focolare.org

 



1 Comment

  • Verso la fine di febbraio u.s., ho ricevuto la notizia che m io zio Giancarlo era stato ricoverato in ospedale a Milano per un ictus. Lui era già ammalato di Parkinson in fase molto avanzata. Mi sono recata subito in ospedale dove mia cugina Cinzia mi ha dato la notizia che suo padre aveva un esteso edema cerebrale e in conseguenza a ciò non riusciva più a esprimersi. In quella stessa giornata, dolorosa, mi ha confidato di essersi convertita al buddismo e mi ha chiesto di pregare per il padre. Da quel momento e fino al lockdown sono andata spesso in ospedale dallo zio e ho intensificato le mie preghiere. Nel contempo è iniziato un dialogo aperto, sincero e profondo con mia cugina.
    Mi sono trovata così ad affrontare il dialogo interreligioso…in famiglia!
    Per pura grazia di Dio entrambe abbiamo aperto il nostro cuore donandoci le reciproche esperienze. Questo rapporto è cresciuto e prosegue intensificato.
    Messaggi e telefonate durante il lockdown si sono susseguiti quotidianamente ed io ogni volta mi sono sentita come un calice che raccoglie le lacrime e le frustrazioni. Non mi è mai nemmeno passato per la mente il benché minimo giudizio (cosa per me eccezionale) e spontaneamente mi veniva solo di accogliere, ascoltare e amare.
    Come è stato possibile tornare a fare visita ai parenti ho iniziato ad andare a casa degli zii con frequenza bisettimanale. Ogni volta portavo qualcosa preparato da me sapendo della loro scelta vegetariana e entrambi i miei cugini venivano nel momento che ero a casa dei loro genitori per stare con me e questo ha rinnovato il nostro rapporto. Lo stesso è accaduto con mia zia, moglie dello zio, e anche con l’altra mia zia sorella dello zio (entrambi fratelli della mia mamma). Durante queste visite i colloqui non erano mai di “circostanza” ma profondi e concreti nello stesso tempo.
    Il 22 giugno arriva la notizia: lo zio si è aggravato e ormai è questione di pochissimo. Il 23 giugno sono andata con l’altra mia zia a recitare il rosario al capezzale di zio Giancarlo. Il 24 giugno di primo mattino lo zio è spirato.
    Al suo funerale erano presenti gli amici buddisti di mia cugina Cinzia insieme a noi parenti e tutti sono stati contenti della celebrazione.
    Chiaramente non poteva finire così! Ora vado a trovare mia zia almeno due volte al mese portando sempre qualche vivanda che gradiscono e trovo ogni volta anche i miei cugini. Con Cinzia il rapporto è diventato intimo e… reciproco.

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