The yearly meeting of delegates from the Focolare around the world began in Rome following the beatification of Chiara Luce Badano, the first Focolare member to reach the altars on 25th September 2010. There couldn’t have been a better way for the Focolare delegates to begin their three-day retreat at the opening of the meeting. They came from 78 nations representing the 182 nations where the Focolare can be found. In all, 345 people took part in the gathering.
Maria Voce, president of the Movement, welcomed everyone saying: “Let us retire with Jesus, together, so that we may take a new step toward holiness.” Her opening remarks were a reflection on the Will of God, the second point of the spirituality of unity, which will be considered and lived more deeply by the entire Movement during the coming year.
The two main guidelines that have been given to the Movement for the coming year are: the growth in holiness, which was underscored by Benedict XVI in a greeting to the members of the Movement when he received Maria Voce in audience; and Unity, in order to “contribute to the realization of Jesus’ prayer to the Father: ‘that all be one’ (cf Jn 17:21), which points to universal fraternity.”
Amid the various formal presentations, interspersed with many moments of joyful communion in small discussion groups, there was the presentation given by the philosopher and theologian, Jesus Moran who emphasized “that the human person by his very structure is made to say yes to God, a yes that makes him a total person.”
The Brazilian sociologist, Vera Araujo discussed the social implications of the same theme. Araujo discussed “places where the will of God is manifested: in daily and professional life and in the signs of the times” among others. She highlighted the importance of enlivening with evangelical love every institution, “for through it, it is possible to expand a network of relationships that are truly human.”
The meeting will be underway until 17 October 2010 with a rich and diverse program, with more reflection on the topic of formation, and with updating about the life of the Movement in the world. A special look will be given to the Asian continent, following the recent visit of Maria Voce and Giancarlo Faletti to Korea, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan.