The President’s report – General Assembly, Diary 5

Today the Assembly discussed the President’s report on the past six years. The participants received the document over a week ago and so each one had time to examine it in detail. Many questions emerged, some of which were put to the President, Maria Voce, and to the Co-President Jesús Morán in the early afternoon.

Maria Voce explained that the report was not meant to be a list of activities, but rather to offer “a reading of the experience lived”. She drew attention to the “new set-up” of the Focolare Movement: a process initiated to bring the charism of unity more widely into the different contexts of the world. Maria Voce admitted that this process has created a certain disorientation in various areas, but she also underlined its positive effects: a new protagonism in the local communities and new synergies between the many branches of the Movement and the regions that have made space for a new creativity.

After highlighting the valuable contribution given by the new generations of the Movement, among whom she found “committed people, ready to assume their responsibilities”, the President gave an analysis of the priorities that emerged from the Assembly in 2014. Regarding the first priority, “going out”, she highlighted the areas in the most varied environments, such as in the social field or in intercultural dialogue, in which the Focolare has offered its typical contribution to unity. Regarding the second priority, “together”, she noted that there is less fragmentation within the Movement, with a stronger tendency towards collaboration across existing structures. Finally, she emphasised that efforts have been made to live the final priority, to be “properly prepared”, by developing new paths of human and spiritual formation for members and those in positions of responsibility.

Neither the report nor the subsequent answers given by Maria Voce and Jesús Morán tried to hide the challenges that the Movement is facing; finding suitable ways and means to communicate its charism in a way that is relevant to today’s world; a falling in the number of vocations, and most painfully, the emergence of different forms of abuse within the Movement, which means – as Co-President Morán stated – there is a need to continue along the path of “an inevitable and necessary process of ‘purification of memory’ that we are called to live with humility and hope”.

The perspectives referred to by Maria Voce at the end of her report were based on a reading of the “signs of the times”, that is, the questions posed by the world’s situation, including that of the Covid pandemic:  this asks for a modest and sustainable lifestyle, an increased sensitivity to the role of new media and a greater focus on the family. She ended with a decisive appeal to live in radical faithfulness to the Gospel, which for the Focolare Movement means faithfulness to the key word of its charism: “Father, may they all be one” (Jn 17:21).