Harmony and collaboration

The president of Azione Cattolica Italy met with the Focolare’s General Council, and what emerged was a shared commitment for Albanian earthquake victims.

On the afternoon of 29 November, close to 50 people – including members of the national administration of Azione Cattolica, members of the Focolare General Council, and Focolare directors in Italy – came together at the movement’s international headquarters at Rocca di Papa. From the start there was a great, tangible harmony that, as the meeting unfolded, showed all the richness of communion.
“It is an opportune time, and the Spirit urges us in this direction,” said Matteo Truffelli, president of Azione Cattolica Italiana (ACI).

“By staying close to other realities in the Church, we experience an abundance of ecclesiality,” affirmed Jesús Morán, Focolare’s co-president.
Following a prayer by Monsignor Gualtiero Sigismondi, the ecclesial assistant for ACI, Focolare President Maria Voce explained the movement’s specific calling to unity. Truffelli in turn presented the areas of focus for his association: the missionary activity that Pope Francis has invited Azione Cattolica to take part in – a challenge that they aim to take on enthusiastically and universally.

A sharing of experiences from the two organisations in various fields followed. Those from Focolare retraced Chiara’s inspirations in ecumenical, interreligious and cultural dialogue: from Evangelicals, to Orthodox, to Anglicans, and today with movements from various Christian churches on the path of Together for Europe. The key to interreligious dialogue can be found in human fraternity. The relationships with the founders of movements in other religions have also been productive.

In this age of diversity, the challenge is to manage cultural differences, rejecting others, and the risk of fundamentalism or assimilation. There is a vast range of projects in the fields of politics, economics, disarmament, environment and education, but the aim is also to show the Church as it truly is. Children and teens play a lead role in responding to the most important contemporary issues.

Asking themselves how best to make their own experience of faith tangible in everyday life, ACI began the Fuori Sede (“offsite”) project for young people, students and workers, who aim to carry out their tasks wherever they find themselves. A Marian pilgrimage is aimed at adults who gravitate towards more popular religiosity. Finally, they are also collaborating with the Italian bishops conference through the Policoro project.

As the afternoon of communion drew to a close, Truffelli proposed a common project to support those who had been struck days earlier by the strong earthquake in Albania. Moran spoke for many with his positive reaction. Experts from the two organisations are already developing a plan of action to achieve this collaboration.

Lina Ciampi

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