Authentic, frank and courageous

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At the conclusion of their assembly, Focolare youth presented to the Movement a summary document of a process which was not always smooth. It will contribute to the international annual meeting of delegates from around the world just underway in Italy.

The timing could not have been better: the last two days of the Focolare Youth Assembly, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September, coincided with the first two days of the annual meeting of delegates of the Focolare Movement from around the world. This gave the 190 youth of 66 countries from the various sections of the Movement the possibility to present to a truly representative international Focolare forum the summary of their work on the identity, formation and role in the Movement of young people and their commitment in the world. The 44 delegates representing the geographical regions of the Focolare welcomed this opportunity to more fully appreciate the sensitivities, hopes and expectations of the new generations.

The impact of Saturday morning, 14 September, was strongly felt. The final document produced by the young people, and the questions they directed at the “more mature generations”, as they light-heartedly called them, indicate how challenging their task had proved to be. In the course of only a few days, they experienced and faced up to their many differences of background, culture, sensitivity, religion and beliefs. With authenticity and courage they considered difficulties and open questions which provoked concern and suffering in many of the participants. What was even more striking in this process was the human and spiritual depth evident throughout their work: a profoundly felt and tireless desire to dedicate all areas of their life to the goal of unity on a big scale, a more “united world”, and their readiness to approach painful situations with a preferential love for Jesus in his abandonment on the cross.

On this solid basis, the young participants enthusiastically encouraged the whole Movement to appreciate diversity as an integral and essential part of any experience of unity, and to create spaces and tools to better facilitate dialogue on controversial subjects. They requested more participation in the direction of the Movement both at local and central levels in order to be able to share in the responsibility for the future generations. But with the same frankness, they expressed their own need to be better formed in the spirituality of the Focolare and to deepen their relationship with the older generations in the Movement.

In response, Focolare President and Co-President, Maria Voce e Jesús Morán highlighted the importance and maturity of the experience these young people have shared in just a few days. They recognized in this Assembly and its final document “a fundamental step ahead and a great legacy for the Movement”.

20190914 1548480 The afternoon of this memorable day was dedicated to the inauguration of the restructured auditorium of the international headquarters of the Focolare Movement in Rocca di Papa (near Rome, Italy). It was also the occasion for Maria Voce to present to both assemblies the thematic spiritual talk for the forthcoming year, centred on the reality of Jesus present in the midst of “two or three united in his name” (cf Mt 18:20). This is the Alpha and Omega of the Movement’s spirituality, declared Focolare President, as she spoke movingly and very personally, at this the start of the final year of her term of office.

20190914 170921Living mutual love even in the most painful moments, creating space for Jesus to be present among people today, transmitting his joy to them: this is the pathway Mary Voce invites the Focolare to journey along in the forthcoming months. For the youth Assembly participants, it could also be a key to understanding the experience of these intense days together. For the international delegates, it will give impetus to their consultations now getting underway.

Joachim Schwind


  • Grazie ai giovani per quanto hanno vissuto e donato. Sottolineo uno dei tanti passaggi che sottoscrivo: “… con grande libertà incoraggiano il Movimento a valorizzare ancora di più la diversità come parte integrante e costitutiva di ogni esperienza di unità” Nel dialogo interreligioso siamo coscienti che la diversità è ricchezza. Mi auguro che la loro presenza nell’Opera sia sempre più visibile. Grazie

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