Asia: 50 years of unity

In 1966 the first group of men and women focolarini arrived in Manila. This marked the beginning of the spread of the spirituality of unity in many Asian countries, along the lines of interreligious dialogue and a meeting between cultures.

Live streaming:

01 invite revisedFifty years ago, on February 22, 1966, a group of five men and women focolarini arrived in Manila.They were sent by Chiara Lubich in response to the request of Cardinal Rufino Santos, then Archbishop of Manila. Guido MirtiGiovanna VernuccioSilvio Daneo, Ednara Tabosa and Magdalena Brandao were the first protagonists in the adventure of the Focolare in Asia.

From Manila, they travelled to Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam … as far as Australia. The Focolare Movement spread widely throughout Asia fostering in all those who came into contact with it the spirit of unity that is its characteristic, in spite of the enormous diversity of cultures, religions and languages present in the region.

In 2016, we are planning a series of events to thank God for these fifty years of abundant graces, fruit of the meeting of the charism of unity,” write Ding Dalisay and Carlo Maria Gentile, from the Philippines. “On February 20 and 21, the whole family of Chiara present in this part of the world will gather together in Mariapolis Peace, in Tagaytay (Philippines). The first day will be ‘a homecoming’, back to our family; while on the second day, there will be a feast of thanksgiving, with artistic and cultural presentations, looking back at the story of these fifty years, to encourage us to go on, with new fervor, and continue offering our contribution towards the unity of the human family.

On that occasion we will present the centers that have come up in the ‘little city’ Mariapolis Peace, at the service of the Movement throughout Asia: the School of the Oriental Religions (SOR), the Mariapolis Center, the Schools for the youth, the Centre for Priests, the House of the Seminarians, the Centers for Men Religious and for Women Religious, and the Bukas Palad and Pag-asa Social Centers. Several delegations are expected, from Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Pakistan and Australia. Among the participants will be some among the first members of the Movement in the Philippines who have now permanently moved to the USA, thereby enriching the Focolare community in that country. The guests of honor will be the protagonists of those first times of the Focolare in Asia, who are now residing in Italy, Guatemala and Malta.”

On March 14, death anniversary of Chiara Lubich (January 22, 1920 – March 14, 2008),” continue Ding and Carlo Maria, “a Symposium will be held in Manila, on the theme: Charism of unity, a timeless legacy. This is especially intended for ecclesiastical and civil personalities so that together we may be able to reflect on the contribution that the charism of Chiara Lubich has given to the life of individuals, to communities, to the Church and society.”

In the various Mariapolis that will take place in the course of the year in the Philippines (in Davao, Cebu and Manila), they explain, one whole day will be dedicated to giving as many people as possible the opportunity to know the vitality that the spirituality of unity has brought to Asia in the fifty years of its presence here.”

Asia is also home to the great religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam … For this reason, in 2017, in Thailand,” they conclude, “the 50th anniversary of the Focolare Movement will feature an interreligious event: it will be an invitation to all those who wish to join us in this walk towards the unity of the human family.”