The Holy See Press Office released the text of a video message from Pope Francis on the 50th anniversary of the founding of Loppiano, the Focolare movement’s first “little town.” The town, located in north-central Italy, has 2,600 residents from 70 nations.
“Dear brothers and sisters, inhabitants of Loppiano, good evening to you all.
I also wish to greet all those who today populate the citadel which Chiara Lubich had created, inspired by the Gospel of brotherhood – that universal brotherhood – and all those who from every corner of the world have linked up to participate in the Loppiano’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Loppiano is at the service of the Church and the world, and I thank the Lord for this little town which is a living and effective testimonial of communion between people of different nations, cultures and vocations, and who make sure, especially in daily life to keep alive among you, mutual and constant charity.
I am glad that you chose to celebrate your anniversary on the same day in which the entire Church celebrates St Francis of Assisi, testimonial and creator of peace and brotherhood. It is really a happy coincidence also for me.”
The inhabitants of Loppiano, those who are permanent citizens and those who pass a period of training wish to become experts in mutual acceptance and dialogue, operators of peace, and generators of brotherhood,
Continue with renewed enthusiasm along this path, and I pray that you remain faithful and continue to incarnate more and more the prophetic design of this citadel which blossomed from the charisma of unity, exactly fifty years ago. All this was in harmony with the profound message which the Second Vatican Council was announcing in that period, to testify to the light and wisdom of the Gospel with mutual love towards all. Loppiano is, therefore, a school of life, where there is only one Teacher: Jesus.
Yes, a school of life, that makes the world hope once again, and that bears witness to the Gospel is truly the yeast and salt of the new civilization of love. And to do so, by drawing from the spiritual sap of the Gospel, you need to imagine and experience a new culture in all fields of social life: from family to politics, to the economy. In other words, the culture of relationships. The basics of wisdom is the sincere desire for education, and taking care of education means love. Therefore it is not surprising that Loppiano has for some years now become the seat of the Sophia University Institute established by the Holy See. There is an urgent need for young people, men and women who, besides having a qualified training in various disciplines, are at the same time imbued with the wisdom that springs from love of God.
Dear friends, my heartfelt wishes for all of you and Loppiano, to look ahead always, and aim high with faith, courage and creativity. No mediocrity! I entrust you all to Maria Theotokos, Mother of God, who embraces you all in the shrine which is the heart of the little town. And I ask you to pray for me. I bless and greet all of you.”