The Focolare president, Maria Voce, briefly talks about her participation in the annual meeting of the General Secretaries of the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) being held in Birmingham (United Kingdom) from 1st to 4th July. The focus of the meeting is the relationship between the institution and charismatic realities in the Church in Europe today.
“In these few days I took part in the meeting of the General Secretaries of the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, with Jesús Moran. I was invited because they had chosen as their theme the presence of both charism and institution in the Churches of Europe and their co-essentiality, their combination. They chose to base their four-day meeting on these two main themes; one entrusted to a bishop for the institutional aspect and one entrusted to me for the charismatic aspect.
I must say that they welcomed me with great affection and great esteem, and when I spoke they listened with exceptional attention and I felt there was a deep understanding of what I was saying.
Afterwards they continued discussing this subject for an hour, as a group, and then they wanted to meet with us again to look more in depth, and with great attention, at some aspects of the topic. I found they all have very high esteem for the Movement and a new regard for all the movements and their contribution to the European Churches. They will now continue working on this same subject, but they really thanked us because they felt that our presence truly represented this charismatic reality.
Moreover, when we talked about the integration of the Marian profile and the Petrine profile in the Church, they were particularly grateful that it was presented by someone from a movement such as the Focolare Movement, by its president and especially by a woman. They were very grateful for this presence and, in fact, I was the only woman among forty priests, including six bishops, who represented the various Bishops’ Conferences of Europe.
At the beginning there was a warm welcome by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Birmingham. They too showed a very great appreciation and a great love for the movement and for me personally. So I really thank all those who have accompanied me”.
By the editorial staff
 Note: the term ‘Churches’ here refers to the Roman Catholic Church in the territories covered by the Bishops’ Conferences.