“I was struck by the joyful atmosphere of mutual acceptance. Compared to 2000, when Chiara Lubich met just one religious family, the Franciscans, this day was a genuine development of the dialogue between the old and new charisms, because of the involvement of many other religious communities, movements and new communities, as well as the influential presence of many superiors.” This was the impression of one Franciscan who attended the “Charisms in Communion” event that took place on 23 October in Assisi, Italy.

Ten years after that historic encounter, things have gone forward, considering that not only were several orders of Franciscans and members of the Focolare Movement together this time, but also numerous representatives of the Claretian Fathers, the White Fathers, Salesians, Benedictines, charismatics, members of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Neocatechumenals and dozens of other orders and communities.

The meeting began with the Mass presided by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and it was concelebrated by bishops, Ministers General, Provincials, and many priests.

In his opening remarks, Bishop Domenico Sorrentino, Bishop of Assisi, invited everyone to rediscover “love, the charism of charisms” mindful that “the treasures of one are the treasures of all”.

“An exposition of the Fruits of the Spirit,” is how Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, described the gathering. In her speech she outlined the stages along this journey of communion, beginning with Pentecost ’98 which was a fundamental moment for the new movements. “On that occasion – Voce recalled – Chiara Lubich, made a promise to the Pope: ‘We want to assure you, Your Holiness, that since our specific charism is unity, we will strive with all our strength to help implement it to the full.” Two years after that promise, “Chiara goes one step further – continued Voce  -: communion with religious families that have been born from religious charisms that are not so new. And she laid the first stone of this dialogue-communion between religious families as expressions of the charismatic Church right here, at the tomb of Saint Francis, 26 October 2000. “Finally, she said” the Holy Spirit has guided everyone towards a communitarian way which reveals the Church as a united family of brothers united by the one Father. ”

The testimonials highlighted this relationship of communion and of strong and specific answers to problems, disunity and wounds of the most varied sort. Like the testimony given by Sister Viviana Ballarin, national President of USMI (Union of General Superiors) concerning various religious communities in Kabul: “Poor, and with nothing, alongside the weak. Yet there I saw the early Church in which Jesus was really the center of everything. ”

The joyous gathering was concluded with the solemn signing of a pact of communion and love for one another, by dozens of representatives of old and new charisms, and with the explosion of the Youth Fest in the evening. On the square in front of the basilica, a musical recital narrated the story of Chiara Luce Badano, the eighteen year old Sassello girl who was recently beatified by the Pope and indicated by him as a model for all young people. She, too, the fruit of a charism, that of Chiara Lubich, which she lived in her family and in the parish community of her home town.

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