Seventy young people gathered in the U.S. for one of the international events that is part of United World Week 2019. It was the first of the six “Pathways for a United World” launched by the Focolare’s young people, focused on work and economy, and also opened up the next one on peace, law and justice.
They are leaves from the same tree, threads of the same fabric. They are different, yet linked to the same dream of fraternity, and united by the same commitment to achieve it. And the more than 70 young people from the U.S. Canada, Mexico, Paraguay, Italy, Brazil, Lebanon and the Czech Republic certainly experienced it when they came together June 9–16 just north of New York City at Mariapolis Luminosa, the Focolare’s international centre for North America. We asked Chris Piazza, a young American who was there, to tell us about this event, which was just one of those scheduled internationally for United World Week 2019.
What was the main theme of the meeting?
Last year, at Genfest 2018 in Manila, Philippines, the Youth for a United World (Y4UW) launched “Pathways for a United World”, which are six themes to go deeper into and live over six years. The first, which includes the topics of economy, work and communion, was at the core of the event at Mariapolis Luminosa.
How did you take it on and develop it?
We had a number of workshops to go deeper into topics such as finance, leadership and resource poverty, and in small groups we reflected on how to live and spread a culture that is based on giving and sharing. We also participated in an exercise on consumer awareness called “Into the Label.” The final day was titled “Live to give until no one is in need,” which sums up what we lived.
Also present were a number of entrepreneurs from the Economy of Communion, a new economic model that promotes fraternity in all aspects of business. Two of them, from competing firms, spoke about how they tried to not compromise their personal relationship despite the cutthroat competition at work.
“Hands 4 Humanity” was another of the week’s events – visiting a nursing home. Then there were conservation activities promoting recycling, and an art exhibit called “Fabric of fraternity,” which was a journey towards how to form a symbolic fabric that leads to universal brotherhood.
One day you were in New York City – what did you do?
That day was dedicated to the climate crisis. Together with Lorna Gold, author of the book Climate Generation, and other environmental activists, we discussed how to fight climate injustice. Each person wrote their related hopes or contributions on a leaf and placed it on a design of a huge tree trunk. Our commitments became a great tree – an individual and collective call to action.
“This event helped me realise that a united world is not only possible, but it’s already becoming a reality!” said Mary Bisada of Toronto, Canada. “Even though this pathway may be ending, our mission does not end here.”
Treasuring the commitments taken and putting them into practice, we have now opened up, with all the young people of the Focolare, the second “Pathway for a United World,” which focuses on peace, human rights, justice and a lawful culture.