It is a land rich in history, faith, and suffering. Therefore it is sensitive to Gospel values like those that are highlighted in Focolare spirituality. This is witnessed to by the fact that a priest who attended the Mariapolis at Fiera di Primiero in 1958 was able, with the help of others, to silently spread its message on such a vast scale.
The Focolari in Slovenia – Small communities were begun, whose life overflowed with the opening of the first focolare in a basement in 1966. A second focolare was opened in 1974.
The fervent life was teeming in families, among youths, in parishes and the Movement grew to become a “small people”. The Communist Regime, of course, controlled the activities of its citizens, including the members of the Movement, but the life was never hindered and in 1986 the first Mariapolis-holidays were held in Bohinj, a bright spot in the lives of many people. For some it was their first encounter with God, and for others it was a return to Him after many years.
In the 1970’s there was an unforgettable event: Gen Rosso’s tour. They held four performances at the indoor stadium which was packed with crowds. The highlight of the evening was the Slovenian song, “Maria” to the Mother of Jesus. It was the first time since 1945 that a religious song had been sung outside of a church building and broadcasted on television.
The collapse of the Berlin Wall opened a new phase. Freedom meant that you could speak of the Movement, gather for meetings, organize musical tours for Gen Verde and Gen Rosso, republish the Focolare’s Novi Svet (New City) magazine, with a new look and a circulation of 2,300 copies.
Today, Maria Voce will find a very developed Movement as it collaborates more and more actively with the local Catholic Church; enters into dialogue with other Christian churches; and opens toward society thanks also to some Economy of Communion businesses.
The name of the Mariapolis Centre in Planina is “Spes”, “Hope”. There couldn’t be a better word for the trip of Maria Voce to a land in which hope has been proven and lived with such intensity in the past decades.
Mario Dal Bello