“The Bishop had assigned me to work in the council for ecumenism and dialogue. Fifteen years ago, when a priest-friend of mine from the nearby diocese of Fano came up with the proposal of an inter-diocesan project to promote Ecumenical Twinning between European parishes, I had said no.“As Fr. Giorgio Paolini recounts, this hesitation was soon resolved when he recalled that in London in 1996, Chiara Lubich launched an invitation to live an “ecumenism of the people,” an “ecumenism of life” (video). “So I resumed my contacts with my friend from Fano and together with other priest-friends we threw ourselves into the ecumenical twinning experience.”
The first parish they contacted was the Orthodox parish of Fr Nicu in Romania. «The fraternal relationship among us generated an educational cooperation between the youth of the Diocesan Movement of the Marche region and his youth, and which spread out in concentric rings with the sharing of the Word of Life and the spirituality of unity between the Catholic and Orthodox youth through frequent meetings. The two important yearly meetings each year were held at Christmas in Rumania and in summer in Italy
Then came the annual experience of the Ecumenical Youth Meeting in Loreto, organised together with the Head of the John Paul II Centre of Montorso (Loreto), who had proposed the creation of an ecumenical camp with all the youth contacted through the ecumenical twinning, but also open to all, to allow us to share the mutual wealth of our churches of origin. This year, from 29 July to 4 August, the seventh edition will take place and which foresees the participation of over 200 Orthodox and Greek Catholic youth from Rumania, Lutherans from Denmark and Sweden, Anglicans from England and Catholics from Italy.”
Lastly, the promotion of the “culture of dialogue” among the youth. In January this year, during the Week of Prayer for Unity of Christians, for example, the parish of Borgo Santa Maria hosted around 20 Rumanian boys and girls of a parish it is twinned with. Together with the Italian youth of the Ecumenical Meeting, they then met with the students of four high schools in the provinces of Pesaro and Urbino.
Barbara, spokesperson for a family of the parish continued with the story: “In a world oppressed by wars, divisions and terrorism, these boys and girls wished to propose and offer a message of joy and hope, and certainly a new culture of relationships and encounter that help us to comprehend that in the diversity of others we can discover that richness which brings unity and not division.
After watching a film and listening to the testimonials of the youth, the Ecumenical Meeting broke up into groups to get to know the Romanian youth better, through a question-and-answer session. Despite language difficulties they did their best to communicate with one another. As a family we participated in these meetings as observers, but we feel that we have to thank all those who believed in this project, and continue to do so. I thank the parish priests and the Deans of the high schools, but above all God, who in his immense love made us come across such youth, motivated and determined to change things. They can count on our support and we have faith that they will be able to involve more and more young people, and create a better world where all can live in peace and harmony.”