To make the parish a «home and school of communion». This direction given by John Paul II in 2001 in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, could summarise the significance of the Parish Movement’s activity.
We are in the 60’s. Many parish priests who encountered the Focolare Movement realised that its characteristic communitarian spirituality had an impact on their lives and began to give a new look even to parish activities and their parish communities.
Many of them attended the 13th July 1966 audience in which pope Paul VI encouraged them to bring the spirit of unity to their dioceses and parishes.
In response to this desire, Chiara Lubich launched the Parish Movement, inviting the Focolare members who offered their services at the parish level to animate this “Church cell” with the spirit of unity, paving the way for the first meetings of parish communities.
Thus began the Parish Movement with an agenda that would turn out to be profoundly in tune with pope John Paul II’s direction in the above mentioned apostolic letter as well as with what Benedict XVI wished for: «The first and most important requirement is that the parish should constitute an “ecclesial community’ and an “ecclesial family”».
In fact, when the evangelical spirituality of unity is lived in a parish by the priests and the laity, with full and joint responsibility, the feeling of family in the community is tangible. The ensuing effects of the Spirit are typical of one who lives a communitarian dimension: the need for a greater communion is felt and one freely shares money, time, talents as well as needs; the community opens up to the various forms of poverties and social urgencies in the area; evangelization primarily aims at witnessing reciprocal love and the lived Gospel, and the atmosphere of joy and unity sensed in the community increases recourse to the sacraments and particularly to the Eucharist.
In this way, the parish become the home for all. Attention is paid to the harmony and beauty of the church and parish premises so that they may worthily to welcome Jesus present in every person and in the united community.
The contribution of associations and movements is valorised, each according to its proper charism at the service of the common good.
Catecheses and homilies are directed towards embodying the Word of Jesus in everyday life.
It brings about an openness to dialogue that knows how to listen and communicate with detachment, which tends to foster friendly relationships and aims at universal brotherhood.
At present members of the Focolare Movement offer their services in parishes as catechists, Eucharistic ministers, in the councils or commissions, in the Caritas association, in the recreational centres, in courses for engaged couples and families, or collaborating in the various parish initiatives and activities.
The parishes are principally located in Italy, many European and Latin American countries, but also in North America, various Asian and African countries, and Australia.
Secretariat of the Parish Movement and the Diocesan Movement
Via XXIV Maggio, 106/3
00046 Grottaferrata – Roma