“They showed us unusual kindness.” (Acts 28:2)[more]
Since the 50s a number of diocesan priests have been attracted by the spirit of unity which characterizes the Focolare Movement, hinged on the commandment of reciprocal love. Through it they have found a response to the Spirit in the ‘current’ of renewal that was passing through the Church and found a central point in the Second Vatican Council.
Their involvement with the Movement does not detract from the life of their diocese, but stimulates it, in the midst of their normal active life, trying to make the spirit of unity grow among all, starting with the presbytery, in full agreement with the Bishop and open to a universal dialogue.
In Jesus crucified and abandoned, the cardinal point of the spirituality of unity, they find the way and the measure of living their ministry as pure service; giving their life for all. He in fact is ‘the priest’ par excellence, with Him the Church is generated, making it ‘the home and the school of communion’, as a leaven of fraternity within humanity.
The first Focolare of ‘priests and deacon focolarini’ was in Rome, in 1964. Today there are more than 200 in the world, made up of diocesan priests and permanent deacons, and they commit themselves to live the unity asked by Jesus of the Father (cf Jn 17), in a spirit of poverty, chastity and obedience. Where the situation allows they live together. Whether they live together or not they live to develop between them an intense fraternity which witnesses to their ministry.
Another style of commitment within the Movement are the ‘priest and deacon Volunteers’ who meet regularly in groups called ‘nuclei’ and through the spirituality of unity animate the different parts of the church and the various pastoral fields; from evangelization to the witness of charity, from the liturgy to the worlds of youth and family.
In 1968 Chiara Lubich launched the Gens Movement (New Priestly Generation) during a congress with 400 seminarians from all 5 continents. The commitment to put God in the first place has saved many vocations and brought about others. Mutual love enables celibacy to be seen in a new light: to live as Jesus did so as to make a family of humanity.
Around the Priests and the Gens there is the Priests Movement which reaches about 20,000 priests and also involves ministers from other Christian churches who share the spirit and life of the Movement. They organize meetings, opportunities to share, communion and formation with other priests, deacons and seminarians: together they want spread the ‘light’ of evangelical love in every aspect of ecclesial life.
As a result some communities have sprung up which reflect the style of life of the first Christians. Chiara, as a consequence, founded the Parish Movement and the Diocesan Movement.
The International Center of Spirituality for Priests, Permanent Deacons and Seminarians, sited in Loppiano (Florence), welcomes for a year or 6 months those who, with the permission of their own Bishop, would like to experience a ‘school of life’, with times for work interlaced with moments dedicated to getting to know better the spirituality of unity and understanding how to put it into practice on a personal, ecclesial and social level.
There are similar opportunities offered in the other Centers of the spirituality of Unity, within the little towns of the Movement in Asia, Africa, South America and also Europe.
“Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Mt 24:42)[more]
“Encourage one another and build up each other.” (1 Thess 5:11)[more]