Here we are at the South Wales, London and South of England Mariapolis on Saturday 30th July 2022 in Charlton village, Oxfordshire. There is the over-riding atmosphere of joy of 80 of us of all ages, from babies to grandparents, coming physically together after the pandemic, whether we had been to many Mariapolises before or whether – as was the case for quite a number – experiencing the first impact.
“The organisation was well hidden so it felt spontaneous, really a family gathering.”
“Today the same flavour of the first Mariapolises of the early 1950s. A small group but such power, like an atomic bomb – we will see the results of this Mariapolis exploding all over Great Britain and far beyond.”
“It’s changed my life!”
“The film of Where it All Began, shown at the beginning and then again at the end, was so important, enabling us to grow inserted in our roots.”
“It’s my first physical Mariapolis in the UK. With the Focolare Movement, even if you are far from home, you always feel at home. You can never explain the love that you get from places like this. From the experiences and what we lived today, deep down we realize that we are walking together.”
“From the word go there was something uplifting about it. A sense of international community.”
“Here, I’ve experienced the presence of God. And that it’s not just a tremendous gift for all of us, but it’s actually a tremendous gift for the world. There is the potential here that produces a real change in society. And that’s the presence of Jesus among us.”
And so what made the miracle of this Mariapolis? Maybe the profound life experiences? The songs? Lots of space for getting to know each other? The workshops? Collaborative games in the field? Picnic together? Beautiful welcome posters? Homemade cakes? Lavender bags? Communion of goods to cover expenses? Yes, all of these and more… because all expression of the charism of unity, of love lived by all. Truly a day that will remain.