14th March- Eleven years after the death of the foundress of the Focolare Movement

Eleven years after the death of the foundress of the Focolare Movement events are taking place all over the world to remember her. In Rome, Cardinal Rylko celebrated a Mass in the presence of Maria Voce and Jesús Morán attended by many of Chiara’s “people” as well as many civil and religious authorities and friends of the Focolare.

She was the initiator of new ways of living the Christian life, a woman with a profound “Marian” identity who had consecrated herself totally to God which is why God entrusted her with a gift for the Church and the world: the charism of unity. These, in brief, are the cornerstones of the life of Chiara and the Focolare Movement which Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko – former Secretary and President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity – highlighted at the Mass which was celebrated on 14 March in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome’s oldest Marian shrine, on the occasion of the eleventh anniversary of Chiara Lubich’s death.

As well as the President of the Focolare Maria Voce, the Co-President Jesús Morán and a large group of “Chiara’s people “, civil and religious representatives from the diplomatic world and various Christian movements were present. It was a varied assembly which seemed to embrace humanity just as Chiara did. “How often did you hear Chiara say these words”, recalled Cardinal Rylko, “what counts is love. It is love that makes the world move forward, so if someone also has a mission to carry out it is all the more fruitful the more it is imbued with love”.

“The challenges we face today collectively and as individuals are no less significant than those Chiara had to face when she started out”, said a girl who has just got to know the Focolare. Nothing is more relevant than her message of unity today and her vision of a world which with its diversity and its contradictions can go ahead united even in the midst of polarizations that seem to be tearing our relationships apart.

In the words of Cardinal Rylko, one could sense the fraternal friendship he shared for many years with the foundress of the Focolare – “We travelled a long stretch of road together” – and his deep awareness of the gift that God had given her. “In the life of a Movement, it is very important to remember its origins,” he stressed. “Just as water is always clearer at the source, the beginning of a charism always presents itself in all of its fascinating beauty and newness. This is how the Movement can better discover its identity. Your most profound identity is contained in the very name of your Movement: the Work of Mary. A special presence of Mary has accompanied you right from the start. This Marian dimension characterizes the whole of your missionary commitment in the world. Pope Francis often speaks of a ‘Marian style of evangelization’ as the one best suited to our times”.

He then defined the Focolare people as a “new generation” of men and women, young people and new families who are all in love with the love of God and the ideal of unity.

At the end of the celebration, as she thanked all those present, Maria Voce announced that the year dedicated to the centenary of the birth of Chiara Lubich would begin on 7 December. In fact, 2020 will be marked by numerous initiatives and events of various kinds aimed at “celebrating and encountering” Chiara, as the motto of the centenary goes.

As the President of the Focolare said, “We would like to celebrate the wave of new and universal life that the charism of unity has brought to our own personal stories and those of many peoples and cultures. We want to do this by giving as many people as possible all over the world the opportunity to ‘meet’ Chiara today so as to get to know her as a person and rediscover the relevance of her charism and the vision she had of the world as a family of brothers and sisters. It is a vision which goes against the current in this age of resurgent individualism and sovereignty. I am sure that a personal and collective encounter with Chiara will continue to inspire people, ideas and projects animated by the spirit of unity.”

Celebrations will begin in Chiara’s hometown of Trent, on 7 December this year with the inauguration of a large multimedia exhibition dedicated to Chiara which will also be replicated in various capitals around the world. Groups of people will be visiting Trent throughout the year to learn more about Chiara and her spiritual heritage.

During the year, in and around Rome there will be various events giving people the chance to discover the life and work of Chiara in everyday life from the house where she lived to the chapel at the Centre of the Movement where she was laid to rest.

Stefania Tanesini

Pubblicato da focolare.org su Giovedì 14 marzo 2019