No one alone

Listening and sharing. "No one alone" is a pathway of accompaniment and testimony that has involved parents with LGBT children in various countries around the world for some time now.

LEAVE NO ONE ALONE from the text “One city is not enough”, is the invitation Chiara Lubich directs to those who want to transform the cities in which we live, by putting the love of the Gospel into practice. An invitation that leads us, day after day, to be committed to making the places in which we live, spaces of fraternity where everyone feels loved and welcomed.

The New Families Movement of the Focolare has called the accompaniment courses/workshops for couples with LGBT children, “NO ONE ALONE “with this invitation in mind; sharing life and testimonies that it has gathered while accompanying couples from various countries (Italy, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, and Brazil) for some time now.

The meetings, which were first held in presence and online, then, due to the pandemic, entirely online, were a source of sharing and great mutual enrichment despite the huge geographical and cultural differences. Gradually the participants became one family in which the questions, sufferings, wounds, and achievements of each one became everyone’s. This gave rise to the desire to meet in person, and so, from 14 to 16 October 2022, a workshop in presence was held at the Mariapoli Centre in Castel Gandolfo (Italy) with the participation of 60 people.

In addition to the parents who have been following the course for some time and some responsible for various Focolare realities, the programme was enriched by the presence of some young people with a homosexual orientation, who have been active members of the Focolare Movement. Hearing not only the testimonies of the parents, but also those of the children was very touching, and allowed us to get to know each other better and illuminate all these experiences with the light of the Gospel.

An attempt was made to understand each other without prejudice, helped by the contribution of experts.

Father Amedeo Ferrari, Franciscan, theologian and moralist, Father Pino Piva, Jesuit, a theologian very involved in the pastoral care of various groups of LGBT people, Katrien Verhegge, Belgian psychotherapist, committed to these issues at government level in her country, and Roberto Almada, also a psychotherapist, accompanied the group with great wisdom and equilibrium, helping participants to understand the path the Catholic Church is taking. Helping them to not be afraid and to be open with courage to the always unexpected surprises of the Spirit, to increase their capacity to listen, welcome, accompany and integrate.

Father Pino Piva invited everyone to continue to help and accompany ‘families – parents and other family members – to live a human and Christian welcome above all else: a child should always be welcomed! By doing this the family helps the Church to be a family that welcomes and integrates its children unconditionally’.

The meeting generated a strong desire in all those present, to become true companions for every neighbour who crosses our path. Certainly not all the answers to the various questions were found. There are many questions still open, among them understanding how to ensure a path of accompaniment that will be a guide to live and go in depth to the charism of unity.

Father Amedeo Ferrari invited everyone to “keep in mind that each person possesses an inviolable dignity. Therefore, people who experience homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and equal dignity like any other person, avoiding any kind of prejudice or discrimination against them’.

Raimondo and Maria Scotto