After the General Assembly of the Focolare Movement, Assemblies of a number of its branches were held: those of the men and women focolarini, that of the diocesan priests who belong to the Movement and those of the men and women Volunteers of God. The theme that each of the assemblies had in common was the focus on dialogue on all levels.
The General Assembly of the Focolare Movement took place from 24 January to 7 February 2021. The roles of President, Co-President and of the governing bodies were renewed and the guidelines and action for the next six years were defined. The Assemblies of the focolarini and focolarine, the focolarini priests and the Volunteers of God were subsequently held, all online.
Focolarini and focolarine.
The Assembly for the men focolarini held from 9-13 February was composed of 121 members spread across 5 continents including an Anglican focolarino from London, a Coptic Orthodox focolarino from Cairo and a Muslim focolarino from Algeria.
In its report of the last six years, the International Centre for the Focolarini shared with great honesty the challenges, painful aspects as well as the very promising developments regarding the life of the Focolarini all over the world. The final document characterises the focolarino as a man of God constantly listening to the cry of humanity today. Flavio Roveré from Brazil was reconfirmed as the person responsible for the men focolarini.
At the same time 136 women focolarine met. From a question posed by Agnes van Zeeland, who was previously responsible for this branch as to whether the time has not come to “go out” more to the world and its wounds, a passionate dialogue ensued. The new person responsible, Noreen Lockhart (Great Britain), was described by the Co-President, Jesús Morán, as “someone who has dialogue running through her blood, someone who is used to resolving conflicts”.
The Assembly of focolarini priests was held from 1 to 5 March with 74 participants, including some invited guests, such as a minister from the Swedish-Lutheran Church. Reviewing the key words of the 2014 General Assembly, “Go out – Together – Well-prepared”, the person responsible Fr Antonio Bacelar presented in his report the steps taken, the processes initiated, the prospects to be developed, such as the need to act more and more together with all the vocations of the People of God. In the final document which is intended to be “a road map”, dialogue based on listening to the Holy Spirit emerges as a priority. Fr Antonio Bacelar (Portugal) was re-elected for a second term as the person responsible for the focolarini priests.
Volunteers of God.
The two Assemblies of the men and women Volunteers of God were held from 17th to 21st March with a total of 356 participants present online.
The words “courage and forward” addressed by the new President of the Focolare, Margaret Karram, to the two Assemblies, highlight the particular vocation of the Volunteers to face future challenges of humanity in order to change the world according to “the law” of Gospel-based love.
The starting point for the two final documents was Pope Francis’ invitation to the General Assembly to “be a living expression of the founding charism and to remain faithful to the original source by striving to rethink and express it in dialogue with the new social and cultural situations”.
Juan Ignacio Larrañaga, a volunteer from Spain, and Fanny Bava from Italy were elected as the new persons responsible.