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Called and Sent

Called and Sent 1600 1200 admin

Mar. 2024 – “Called and Sent“: this was the theme that approximately 80 families, youth and children from Galilee wanted to deepen together on March 15-16 in Tiberias, on the shores of the Lake, that very Lake that had witnessed the calling and sending forth of the apostles and the public mission of Jesus.

This call is repeated to each one today: in the face of ever-growing challenges, God calls us to the radicality of the Gospel and to give our lives for peace, for dialogue. “What does dialogue mean?” shared Margaret Karram, born in Haifa and now president of the Focolare Movement. “Dialogue says I want to get closer to you, to know you, to be enriched by your diversity. The willingness to dialogue says I open… arms, heart, mind to go beyond fear.”

“Called and Sent”: on this theme several families had also met in Jerusalem on March 9th, and in Bethlehem on March 14th.

Intense meetings of spirituality, conversation with God and communion among all, which gave balm to wounds, opened souls to forgiveness, purified hearts to know how to welcome the others, their sufferings and their hopes.

Appointments filled with joy and cheerful games by the children, which helped them overcome any worries and better understand the the reality of Easter now approaching and the power of the Resurrection.

Occasions to strengthen mutual love among all participating, strengthening the conviction that this is the truest witness, that dialogue and unity among people and peoples is possible.

Precious moments to then start again with renewed commitment, to be together witnesses of this hope.

The words of Desmond Tutu, Anglican Archbishop and South African activist, read during a reflection, well express the lived experience: “If we could but recognize our common humanity, that we do belong together, that our destinies are bound up in one another’s, that we can be free only together, that we can be human only together, then a glorious world would come into being where all of us lived harmoniously together as members of one family, the human family.”

Some impressions:

Until the last moment I was in doubt whether to participate or not. But in the end I decided for yes: it was an act of love for my daughter who wanted it so much. I thank God that we went. It was beautiful. Both my family and I received the sacrament of reconciliation. It was a grace to be with everyone.”

It was a very beautiful retreat! We needed to get away from the world. We really felt like family. The atmosphere was very beautiful. Thank you for all the work! It would be important to do it again and again: we need it.”

It was important to retreat from the world in this hard time. To be together with Jesus in our midst, with peace among us. It was a meeting with so much love among everyone. There was a need to draw strength together to go out and face the challenges in life and in the world. We thank God for this opportunity.”

The Holy Land: charisms in communion for a new time of Pentecost

The Holy Land: charisms in communion for a new time of Pentecost 712 350 admin

May 2023 – A unique opportunity to get to know each other, to share and to rediscover the beauty of being a collective  witness to the Resurrection. This is what the Ecclesial Movements and the new communities  in the Holy Land were able to experience on the journey they began together at Pentecost a year ago.

Communion, participation and mission: these are the three key words related to the Synodal Pathway that was launched in October 2021. At its inauguration, Pope Francis invited followers of the Universal Church to listen and be close to others; this created the context of the local phase of the Synod.  At the invitation of Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch  of Jerusalem,  the Ecclesial Movements and the new communities present in the Holy Land were able to meet, listen to each other and work in communion in preparing the 2022 Pentecost Vigil.  This was a special occasion when many people experienced the joy of feeling they were one body in the Church, enlivened and renewed by the Holy Spirit.  Within the sociopolitical and cultural context of the Holy Land, there was possibility of generating “unity,” learning from each other’s charism and putting one’s own at the service of all.

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa said, “I think that if we are to feel that we are one body, the first thing to do is to speak, to communicate but, above all, to listen. Listening does not mean only hearing, it means expecting to receive from the other person who becomes the subject –  I am not the subject,  the other person is.”

Pentecost marks the time when the Church on  its pilgrimage to meet the Lord, constantly receives  the Spirit from him. The same Spirit  gathers it in faith and charity, sanctifies it  and sends it on mission.

At Pentecost 2023 we share an account of this experience of communion.

Maria Grazia Berretta
Original post published in www.focolare.org

Watch the video (activate English subtitles)

 

From Bethlehem lessons for the future

From Bethlehem lessons for the future 1132 703 admin

Oct. 2022 – This is one of the pages from the diary of Irene, a young editor of Teens, a magazine of the Città Nuova publishing group, which is made by teenagers for teenagers. Through her eyes and her words we learn of a journey in a country marked by divisions and we get to know the project “Harmony among peoples”, which, thanks to art and dance is spreading beauty and hope to the new generations in Bethlehem.

 

Mariapolis in the Holy Land: vocation to community

Mariapolis in the Holy Land: vocation to community 712 350 admin

July 2022 – Being a community is more than just being together.It means responding to a call to build: giving life to a family sustained by the Word and meeting each other. Here, in this video, is what some people who participated in the Mariapolis of the Holy Land last July told us.

There is a light breeze which caresses the ancient ruins of the Church of St. George, in Taybeh, the only entirely Christian village in the Holy Land. According to Scripture, it is the place where Jesus came to rest with his followers before the Passion. And it was here, on 8th-9th July 2022 that adults, young people and children of the Focolare Movement gathered together to live a truly special Mariapolis, a moment of fraternity and true communion.

“Mariapolis is a time for the family to get together,” says Mayra, from Bethlehem, “It usually takes place every year but due to the pandemic we couldn’t have it. This year, after three years, we could and for me it’s like taking a break from my life and recharging myself spiritually.”

“To be witnesses of love” was the title of this two-day event that saw the participation of people from many regions of the country, from Haifa, Nazareth, to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Gaza. Despite the socio-political and cultural challenges of the Holy Land, the desire to enjoy beauty and to live as a community give the strength to overcome physical and often inner barriers. The community is the place where we find the values that become nourishment, where we build a present and a future which respect the dignity of all; the place where listening to and witnessing to the other in the light of the Gospel invites us to better understand the work of God in our lives and, more than anything else, it is the place where no one is alone.

Marcell and Boulos, from Nazareth shared this with us: in their life-journey, they were able to experience support and family during the most painful moment of their lives, the death of their youngest son, Jack. And Khader, from Gaza, who despite the daily hardships to be faced in the context in which he lives, places his hope in God, joyfully recognizing the beauty of the vocation to which he is called: that of happiness.

Maria Grazia Berretta

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The challenge of caring

The challenge of caring 962 541 admin

 

Sept. 2022 – Its name means “miracle of the peoples” or “sign for the peoples” as we read in the prophet Isaiah (Is 11:10). In Nes Ammim, a village of Christian origin in northern Israel, dialogue and coexistence among people of different peoples, faiths, religions and cultures is the norm.

An ideal location to host the Focolare Movement’s initiative that brought together around 150 people of different faiths and cultures from September 16 to 18 last year to reflect and experience “caring.”

CLAUDIO MAINA Focolare Movement

“With the pandemic and after the pandemic, the theme of caring is present in the Focolare Movement. A real awareness campaign on this issue is emerging.”

The guiding theme these days is “Dare to care”. Not just a title:

CLAUDIO MAINA Focolare Movement

“We are deeply convinced that it is a way of life to care for others. It takes courage! It takes daring, because it’s about stepping out of one’s box, stepping out of one’s comfort zone, to look beyond.”

Moments of reflection, but also spaces for conviviality and sharing, workshops, games, activities for children, time for a little relaxation, a chance to learn about and participate in different religious traditions. The beginning of Shabbat was experienced with particular intensity.

Sister DELPHINE SEEGOOLAM Chemin Neuf

“It is important to get to know each other: what others believe, who they are, what their culture is. That way all our barriers can crumble down and we can live as brothers and sisters.”

Among the most anticipated moments was a panel discussion with three speakers from different religions-Christians, Jews and Muslims-on building authentic relationships, with oneself, with others, but also in the society in which we live and towards the environment.

The need for every human being to be in relationship with the other, the importance of knowing one’s own identity, education for dialogue, starting with religious leaders, the push to get out of one’s own schemes: these are all topics addressed by the speakers and explored in the assembly and in the various workshops.

Prof KHALED FURANI Tel Aviv University

“Why am I here? What am I living for? If we keep asking ourselves these questions, perhaps we can challenge what makes us feel comfortable and go out and explore new ways in which we can enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.”

SHIRA LEVINE Rabbi – Kibbutz Hanaton

“Many of my friends chose not to be religious at all. It’s ok, everyone believes in whatever they believe – in the mankind and in themselves, ok. But I believe, I believe in God and I believe in people, and I found that I have a lot in common with people who believe. Sometimes we understand each other’s better than people who choose not to believe”.

The various proposals and free moments were an opportunity to touch upon this possibility of taking an interest in others and being enriched by their presence.

TALAT SHATROUBI Fureidis

“The theme of these days gives me energy to be a person who can help and do something good for their community.”

CHIARA PEZZULICH Haifa

“It was a good experience, of living together, of friendship, of meeting: meaningful for life!”

Spaces and moments like this Focolare Movement event are a testimony that the desired unity is possible if everyone takes the risk of “daring to care.”

SHIRA LEVINE Rabbi – Kibbutz Hanaton

“I am very happy. It’s really a miracle that all these people come together, it’s a miracle that all the ‘ammim’ (peoples) come together.”

Original post published in cmc-terrasanta.org