7th December kicked off the 80th Anniversary year of the Focolare Movement


On 7th December 1943, Chiara Lubich was alone.In the context of the 2nd World War raging around her and destroying her hometown of Trent, deep in her heart, she felt that the only thing to do was to choose God alone. This led her to make a personal dedication of her life to God, to say a “YES” to him forever, little knowing the adventure of living the Gospel that awaited her and that would spread throughout the world.


80 years later, the global family of Focolare celebrates that significant day, which begins an anniversary year.

In Belfast, the community gathered in the Holy Family Church for a thanksgiving Mass with Bishop Alan McGuckian, encouraged by a message from Bishop Donal McKeown. The same morning, Pope Francis had received the General Council of the Movement in a private audience. 3 prelates. 3 takes on the seed that gave life to a worldwide family which embraces people of all faiths and none.

Pope Francis: “Mary’s “yes” became Chiara’s “yes”, generating a wave of spirituality that spread throughout the world, to tell everyone that it is beautiful to live the Gospel with one simple word: unity.”

Bishop McKeown: “‘Yes’ is a short word – but one that it is not easy to speak from the depths of our hearts… the call to Chiara was to set up a little “hearth” of love and hope in the midst of the horrors of war. When we are at our weakest, God is best able to intervene, to surprise us with the joy that comes from building a loving bridge of unity in the midst of destruction and violence.”

Bishop Alan: “.. that sole, solitary experience was the birth that we celebrate today, this is what we celebrate today, 80 years of the Focolare Movement was born out of that. God is everything.”

Following the audience with Pope Francis, Margaret Karram said, “I feel a great joy, I’m emotional because I felt a great encouragement from the Pope, his great affection for all of us but also a call to return to the Gospel alone, to choose God especially today. I felt a strong call to say ‘I choose God alone and let Him look after His Movement’. As he was leaving us, the Pope said, “Go ahead, go ahead, but with joy”. That’s why I’m very happy with this special day, on this 80th anniversary, with a lot of joy and a lot of hope.”