Focolare president, Maria Voce, concluded the event dedicated to the culture of unity and brotherhood, with a meeting of the family dedicated to the Focolare in the capital of Sicily, by offering a challenge: “That Palermo may become the capital of the culture of Resurrection, capital in the sense of “il capo”, (head city) from which the culture of Resurrection flows into the whole world.”
Twenty years ago Chiara Lubich had received honorary citizenship in the Sicilian capital. Sincne then, the community has continued to follow this journey of striving to incarnate the words she spoke on that occasion: “Let us promise that Palermo will be forever in our hearts, until, through the audacity and courage of its citizens, it will become a model for many other cities within and beyond Italy, a true city on the hill.”
The event, which was part of the Palermo, Capital of Culture 2018, promoted by the Municipality, embraced several fields: Law and Order, ecumenical dialogue, music and show with Gen Verde, workshops, flashmobs and roundtables promoted by the young people.
More than 120 people took part in the Relationships and Law Meeting at the Regional Pariliament Building on May 11th. The gathering included presenations by several leaders from the world of Law and Justice, lawyers, students and scholars. Maria Voce concluded the discussions saying that the field Law and Justice is in extreme need of “poeple whose hearts are open to the grand ideal of the unity of the human family, and that for this reason put their whole self into working concretely for the healing of relationships, without fear or comprimise.”
In the afternoon more than 300 young people held a programme on titled Digital Identity, promoted by IUS, and We are the choices we make” presented by Jesus Moran, co-president of the Focolare, and Mayor Leoluca Orlando. The young people presented testimonies of the choices that sometimes place them in crisis: whether to stay in Sicily or put their lives on the line and move to other cities or countries. Jesus Moran encouraged them to find the way to give of themselves. The choice falls back on “where can I give myself more and where can I develop my talents. […] Of I leave, I can’t just go to escape. If I stay, I can’t just stay our of fear.”Mayor Orlando stressed how difficult it can be to change a city that comes from years of submission to mafia rules and behaviors, and redeem oneself through a change of culture.
In the morning of May 13th, there was a family moment at the celebration of the Mass, followed by a meeting for families in the historic neighbourhood of Albergheria/Ballaro with an artistic event for children. In the afternoon 500 representatives from more than 20 Christian Churches took part in Together in Charity, from Dialogue to Collaboration, at the Golden Theatre. The regional archbishop, Corrado Lorefice, Maria Voce and the director of the Director of the Regional Office for Ecumenism, Erina Ferlito made presentations. The testimonies described the journey begun by several cities of Sicily: from assisting prison inmates, to caring for the poor, the homeless and immigrants.
Then there was the “On the Other Side” concert with Gen Verde and more than 800 people. In the preceding days there were exhibits by young people, workshops run by the band and a flashmob on one of the main thoroughfares of the city. This was also an overwhelming experience that excited by the youth and adults with the message of brotherhood that the international band brings around the world.