On Sunday, 17 October, in a “family atmosphere”, a meeting was organized for participants of the Synod for the Middle East (10-24 October) whose theme is “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness”. The goal was to understand more deeply the charism of Chiara Lubich which is expressed in the spirituality of communion and to learn of the 40-year experience of the Focolare in Middle Eastern countries.
Twenty Bishops and other members of the Synod were in attendance at the gathering. They were welcomed by the Rev. Antonio Borges, delegate of the Focolare Movement in the Middle East and His Eminence, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who shared a reflection on his experiences regarding “The bishop and communion with the presbyterate”.
The Synod Fathers listened with particular interest to the story of the Movement’s diffusion in the Middle East which was shared by Nadine Chehab (Turkey), the life of the Movement in the local Church which was shared by the Maronite Bishop Simon Atallah (Lebanon), and the ecumenical experience shared by Fadia Haddad. Between the lines, images flowed by of the life and activity of the Movement in these lands.
The meeting concluded with the blessing given by the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alessandria, His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Rapporteur to the General Synod. He commented that there was much talk about communion at the Synod, “exactly what you are doing also here”. He pointed out that it is likewise important to underscore the importance of love as the basis of communion, for it is only the communion which is lived out in love, in unity, which can transmit God-Love.
In late afternoon, the particpants of the meeting went to the Basilica of Our Lady’s in Trastevere where the Community of Sant’Egidio held a solemn Service of Prayer for Peace.