An international formation school entirely online because of Covid with new methodologies and the participation of 115 Gen 2, the young people of the Focolare, from 18 nations. A workshop replicated in various parts of the world.
Can the Covid emergency stop our commitment to building a more united world and the possibility to achieve it together? This has been a constant question, in recent months, for many Gen 2, the youth of the Focolare Movement, together with their formators. And so, if the pandemic has prevented them from travelling from one country to another or even from leaving their home, new technologies have allowed the young people to continue to work for peace and unity in the world, indeed, thanks to technology, there have been new and original initiatives, all strictly via the web.
And so, looking at the international appointments established some time ago, the young people of the Focolare decided not to cancel even the annual international formation school for youth group leaders scheduled for August 2020 in Italy, but to do so online. Of course, a little more work was needed to transform the 10-day programme for the school, adapting it to a web-based training method and looking for platforms and apps that would allow moments of listening and going deeper, but also allowing for moments of communion, all together and in small groups. This is how the “International School 2020” was born with a completely new format. 82 young people and 33 adult formators participated from 38 countries and in 16 languages.
“Learning to work online is a positive thing as a result of Covid “ – said one of the participants from Argentina – “because it facilitates the participation of those who, for financial or time constraints, had never done and would not have been able to make an international experience if it involved travelling”.
The school entitled “On earth as it is in heaven” focused on spiritual and current issues, such as peace, social commitment and active citizenship, which were examined in depth in the light of Chiara Lubich’s charism. One of the focuses was: “Dare to Care”, the central theme of Pathways that the young people, with the entire Focolare Movement, have committed themselves to putting into practice. Each year the Pathway is associated with a colour: this year it is the ‘black’, which Chiara Lubich had linked to political, civil and social commitment for the common good. And, as black is the background to all the other colours, this commitment is the background against which the various areas of everyday life stand out: family, society, school. Beginning with Chiara Lubich’s writings, experiences of committed witnesses in the political and social spheres followed; experts such as the theologian Father Fabio Ciardi, a member of the Abbà School, the study centre of the Focolare Movement; Alberto Lo Presti, director of the Igino Giordani Centre; Daniela Ropelato and Antonio Maria Baggio, lecturers at the Sophia University Institute in Loppiano (Italy).
The concluding words of Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement and Co-President Jesús Morán: “You are people who have decided to give your lives and, in this school, you have tested it in your workshop. Today, the workshop is over, now you are going out to live it”.
This school, together with the life commitment it entails, is spreading and multiplying: the 100 participants have made themselves promoters of similar schools in ten different places around the globe.