The Focolare Movement’s annual conference for international delegates and members of the General Council will take place by video-conference, 10 – 12 September. We report the President, Maria Voce’s thoughts.
“We should avoid thinking about ourselves and – as a Movement – be more willing to accept the sufferings of the world.” President Maria Voce’s strong appeal has given a clear direction to the participants of the Focolare’s international leadership conference that will begin this Thursday, 10 September, by video-conference.
In a talk during a recent meeting with the Focolare General Council, Maria Voce spoke of her dismay at the extent of suffering that is reported each day by the media, especially during this time of pandemic. She spoke to her closest collaborators about a question she has often asked herself recently: “Who can absorb all this suffering and pain? I think God is asking us to be closer to this suffering in the world, more willing to welcome it, to love it, to pray … but also to do something more.” Her answer is a programme of both spiritual and practical action.
The programme for the video conference (10 – 12 September) will be characterized by time for the participants to speak extensively about local challenges, specific to their geographical area. These challenges are often shared by others and are often linked to this particular period of pandemic which has given rise to enormous suffering but also new potential. The dialogue and sharing will provide a means of identify the specific contribution that the Focolare can make to during this time of change both now and in the future.
It will certainly not be possible to exhaust this theme during this three day meeting: it will remain on the agenda in view of the next General Assembly of the Movement. This was initially scheduled for the first half of September 2020, but due to the Covid-19 emergency has been postponed until the beginning of next year: from 24 January to 7 February 2021. During the coming meeting, the delegates will also learn about the proposals drawn up by the Preparatory Commission of the General Assembly in order to make use of the time “gained” with a view to increasing involvement of all the members of the Movement in the preparation of the Assembly.