John Paul II visits the International Centre of the Focolare Movement


English video script

Speaker:      Evening had already come when Chiara Lubich expressed everyone’s desire that the Holy Father close the meeting by speaking to us.

Speaker: The Holy Father extemporaneously summed up his thoughts of the past hours.

Holy Father: I must say thank you, I must thank you for this meeting which has been … extraordinary. I must say it has been something … extraordinary. I came over from Castelgandolfo because I thought: the focolarini are not coming here to Castelgandolfo, so I must go to them!

Holy Father: I thank you for this extra­ordinary meeting – also for its content. I have been able to visit your centre that embraces all the focolares of the world. I’ve been able to talk with Chiara and with those who work closely with her, and to see briefly …

Speaker: The Holy Father went on to say that this meeting gave him the opportunity to get a quick glimpse of how the movement lives and is developing throughout the world, how it carries out its mission, its apostolate. It was also an opportunity for him to listen to three very moving experiences.

Holy Father: Then there was the artistic testimony which showed how that love which lives within your movement knows how to animate all human values, the values of beauty, of art, which are always destined to express all that is deepest in the human soul, all that is most spiritual, which is human and also divine. With this meeting I’ve been able to get a little closer to what makes up the charism of your movement.  In other words, I’ve been able to understand better how love – which is a gift of the Holy Spirit and the expression of the human spirit, its greatest virtue – constitutes your charism and characterizes your movement. It is good that you have found such a way, this vocation of love. It is good. Listening to the testimonies, I have been even more strongly convinced of what, for many years and everyday, I’ve been realising: in the world today, in the life of nations, of societies, of different environments and people, hatred and conflict, are very strong. They are part of a program of action. So we need love, we need a programme of love. It could be said that love is without a programme, but it also creates very beautiful and very rich ones like yours. Love is stronger than everything and this is your faith, the source of inspiration for all that is done in the name of Focolare, all that you are, all that you do in the world. Love is stronger. It’s a revolution.

This is also the radicalism of love.

In the Church’s history there have been many radicalisms of love, almost all contained in the supreme radicalism of Jesus Christ.

There was the radicalism of St. Francis, of St. Ignatius of Loyola, of Charles de Foucauld and many others up to the present day. There is also your radicalism of love, of Chiara, of the focolarini: a radicalism that discovers the depth of love and its simplicity, all the needs of love in the different situations, and tries to make this love conquer always in every situation. We can say that your work of evangelization starts from love to reach God. Often people start from God and maybe they reach love. You have stressed this wonderful formula, like St. John’s formula: God is love. So my wish is that you continue along the same path. Your direction is very clear.

Speaker: The Holy Father underlined the importance of giving due value to experiences lived out rather than to abstract programs, and he encouraged the Movement to continue to be that evangelical leaven in the mass of humanity and of the people of God.

Holy Father: I see that you mean to follow authentically that vision of the Church,  that definition of the Church which it gave to itself at the Second Vatican Council. This is how I see your fruitful contacts in the ecumenical sphere, or with our non-Christian brothers, who have their own religious riches, and then the contacts with the secularized world, with non-believers, with atheists and agnostics.

Love opens the road. My wish is that through you- thanks to you – this road may always be more open for the Church.

I thank you once again for having received me … for having received me into your home, into your family. I want to extend these wishes to all the focolarini of the world, because you are very closely bound together with one another and you try to form a big Christian, evangelical family, all over the world. I place my confidence in this family and having said all this, I think I shouldn’t say anything more.

Holy Father: So, as God the Creator said on the day he created human beings, man and woman, I say to you: “Increase and multiply”.

Chiara: We must kneel in adoration to God who has loved us so much; and in this sweetest and most solemn moment we must not forget those who have worked and suffered and passed on to the other life, offering up everything for our Movement. May the Holy Spirit unite all of us here on . earth and in heaven into a single hymn of thanksgiving, in a solemn desire to always aim at doing better.

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