Presentation of the Focolare Movement in the Philippines
Its members, about 5,000 the committed ones and more than 100,000 adherents and sympathizers, have made and continue to make an impact in the most varied endeavors and environments.
Chiara Lubich visited the country twice: in 1982, when she underlined the “spiritual oil well” the Philippines are for the rest of Asia, thanks to the presence of a large and mature Christian community, and in 1997 when she received the honorary degree in theology from University of Sto. Tomas in Manila – the first woman and lay person to be so honored – a contribution which has established a special partnership with the University, particularly in field of the Economy of Communion.
The centers of Focolare are located in Manila, Cebu and Davao while the various communities of the Movement are present in many of the thousands of islands that make up the Philippine archipelago. Despite the distance, they shared the same lifestyle and therefore, on the few occasions where they are able to gather together, they make an experience of a real family spirit, so attuned with the local culture.
The Mariapolis Peace of Tagaytay, one of the little cities of the Focolare movement in the world, founded by Chiara Lubich in 1982, gives a special witness to the possibility of authentic love and mutual collaboration in interreligious dialogue.
Worth mentioning is the participation in the life of the Focolare of many priests and seminarians, as well as several bishops-friends, as a result of the school of spirituality for priests located in Tagaytay.
The spirit of the Focolare Movement has also established itself as a possible answer to many social problems of the country. There is, in fact, a significant presence of the Focolare in the social field with several social centers (Bukas Palad, Pag-asa, Sulyap ng Pag-asa, Focolare Carpentry) and also with the program called “Support at a distance” for children, with centers from the north to the south of the country.
Of particular note is the commitment of companies participating in the project for an economy of communion, the involvement of hospital volunteers (Sinag Volunteers) in various public health facilities, the work of several journalists in the field of media and vibrant commitment of many Focolare members in the field of education.
Furthermore, there exists the interreligious dialogue that is being carried out in the country thanks to a fruitful collaboration with several Muslim and also some Hindu and Buddhist friends. There is also a lively communion of life with brothers from other Churches and ecclesial communities.