With three days of video-conferencing involving Focolare delegates in different areas of the world and the General Council, a further preparatory phase has begun towards the Focolare General Assembly to be held in January 2021.
The meeting of Focolare Delegates from around the world, held this year in video-conference, ended on September 12th; a date which, under normal conditions, would also have marked the last day of Maria Voce’s (current President) term of office.
However, these times – which are anything but normal – have meant an extension of the President’s term of office because, due to Covid, the General Assembly, which also has the task of electing all the governing bodies of the Focolare Movement, has been postponed from the beginning of September 2020 to January 24th – February 7th 2021.
How, then, can this time of waiting be transformed into a time of grace? This is the question that initiated and guided the conference of delegates and to which Maria Voce answered in a profound and concise way: “We are called to bear witness to the possibility of Trinitarian relations! This simply means: each one does everything so that the other person may emerge”.
The sessions dedicated to sharing the life of the Focolare communities in the different geographical areas of the world highlighted the global commitment to face the challenge and the new “off-spring” due to the Coronavirus pandemic: the impossibility of attending meetings in person has led to an increase in digital conferences that often reach more people and break down territorial or participatory structures which in the current situation have been identified as constraints. The economic difficulties, then, require new reflections in search of solutions for a moderate and sustainable lifestyle and in favour of suitable activities and structures. In addition, the climate of growing personal and community insecurity urgently requires a new evangelical life choice in view of a more united world.
The third day of the conference marked the beginning of a further preparation for the Movement towards the 2021 General Assembly. The extra time gained will serve to encourage a more participatory and widespread preparation, a synodal journey. The members of the Movement will have until October 24th, the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the themes gathered so far in order to identify people’s preferences which will then be included in a working document. Before Christmas, the participants in the Assembly will have the opportunity to meet possible candidates for President and Co-President. And in a series of Webinars the main themes will be deepened
with the help of external experts. The preparation will then be concluded in the first weeks of January with group work among the participants.