The Focolare Community in Africa offers a festive welcome!


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Arrival at Nairobi airport. Photo © Verônica Farias – CSC Audiovisual

There, they will be given a festive African welcome by representatives of the Focolare communities in Kenya and by several people from other African nations: “I leave with a lot of joy, thinking that in Kenya I’ll also be meeting other parts of Africa,” says Maria Voce before leaving Italy. This is her second visit to the African continent, after that of 2009 to Fontem, Cameroon for the solemn celebration of Chiara Lubich’s Cry Die.

The schedule of events provides a rough idea of what the trip will be about: enculturation, family and ecumenism. Numerous meetings are scheduled with civil and Church authorities, the general public and with Focolare communities. 

The first appointment is at the School of Inculturation, May 17-20, which will be attended by 257 people from Sub-Saharan Africa. Maria Voce and Jesús Morán, who will attend the work sessions, will also offer presentations at the beginning and at the conclusion of the event. Jesús will give a third presentation related to the recent apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, on love in the family.

On May 7, 1992, during a trip to Nairobi, to visit Focolare members of the African continent, Chiara Lubich noted in her diary: “Inculturation, the great way for the evangelization!”. Five days later, permanent Mariapolis Piero was inaugurated in Nairobi and Chiara founded the School of Inculturation, an intuition that turned out to be prophetic. The 11th School, titled “Family and Inculuration in Africa”, will include several commissions from the Sub-Sahara region and will be composed of scholars, experts, academics and families.  

On May 25, at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa’s (CUEA) Law School, Maria Voce – who was amongst the lawyers who began the Communion and Law network – has been invited to give a lesson on “The Law’s Role in Today’s World”. CUEA Law School has three departments: public law, private law and international law. It offers four-year Bachelor of Law Degrees with the goal of producing graduates with a mastery of Kenyan Law. Maria Voce’s presentation will be addressed mainly to students and scholars of the Law School, but is also open to other Schools of the University and to people outside the CUEA community.

May 27 will be the appointment with the International Ecumenical Movement of Kenya (IEM-K). The international ecumenical movement of Kenya began in the 90s, and has always aspired to “evangelize the city of Nairobi by living a faith that is not intimidated as it challenges, in a practical way and from a Biblical prospective, political and economic questions of justice that are of interest to the community in which we live”. The general goal of the IEM-K is to provide a forum for Christian communion on an interdenominational level. Maria Voce has been invited to share the Focolare’s experience in the ecumenical field.

On May 28-29 a final meeting is scheduled with the Focolare communities in Kenya, which will include representatives from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. That same day “Mary of the Light” Church will be inaugurated.

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