Europe Day, for a culture of reciprocity


For the past twenty-two years “Together for Europe” has been bringing together more than 300 Christian Communities and Movements of different Churches – including the Focolare Movement – spread throughout the continent. There will also be many initiatives this year from 7 to 9 May.

Sunday 9 May is Europe Day, an event that aims to highlight how peace and unity are indispensable for Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historic Schuman declaration made public in 1950 on the occasion of the speech by the French parliamentarian, one of the founding fathers of the European Union.

This is the context for the “Together for Europe” initiative, a reality that for twenty-two years has been bringing together more than 300 Christian Communities and Movements of different Churches, including the Focolare Movement. “Together for Europe” aims to respond to the need for a “culture of reciprocity” where different individuals and people can welcome, get to know and reconcile with one another, and learn to value and support each other. Major European events have been staged over the years – taking place in Stuttgart (Germany) in 2004 and 2007, then simultaneously in 152 cities around the continent in 2012 with a focus on Brussels (Belgium) and in 2016 in a central square in Munich/Bavaria (Germany).

From 7 to 9 May 2021, ‘Together for Europe’ will be presented as a series of events taking place in Austria, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, France, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Italy.

Among the various initiatives is the European prayer on 9 May entitled “My Europe: 45 minutes for Europe” where young people will meet online and animate an event with music, short reflections and prayer groups (in English). Young people and adults are also coming together from different European countries to make short video clips explaining their vision of a united Europe.

In the Chapel for Europe in Brussels, Belgium several Movements of “Together for Europe” are preparing for an event which will be broadcast online on 8 May 2021 from 16:00 to 17:30 on the theme of “unity and reconciliation”.

Also on 8 May, the young people of the Focolare Movement, as part of United World Week, whose theme this year is “dare to care”, will hold a webinar exploring the Christian roots of “care” with Canon John McLuckie, Rector of the Scottish Episcopal Church and 14 young people from 4 different Communities and 7 European countries.

In Italy there will be a rich online symposium “For the Earth and People” exploring the link between integral ecology and a fair economy in contributing to building the “common home”.

Starting with Graz, the Austrian group will network with Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Italy to get to know each other better and deepen a conversation that unites us all.

At the conference in France, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, President of the Robert Schuman Foundation, will speak on the theme of “Europe: what reasons for hope? ”

How did the idea of a Europe Day come about? Where is the soul of Europe? What is Europe telling us today? These are some of the questions and topics that will be discussed in a video session in the Netherlands on 9 May.

Germany, the Czech Republic and Switzerland will also be joining other events celebrating Europe.

The aim is to take up the important challenges facing the continent of Europe, putting to good use the charisms of the Communities and Movements for the good of humanity, through multiple initiatives in favour of reconciliation and peace, the protection of life and creation, a fair economy, solidarity with the poor and the marginalised, the family, the good of our cities and fraternity within Europe.

Lorenzo Russo

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