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AMMAN – On Friday, April 21, 2017, several hundred people gathered at Our Lady of Peace Center to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Focolare Movement’s presence in Jordan. Created at the initiative of Chiara Lubich in Italy, this movement makes known today the spirituality of unity in 182 countries

In the footsteps of Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement

On this day, priests, communities and faithful from near and far and from various walks of life came for the celebration. This joyful afternoon of gathering concluded with a Mass followed by a conference on the story of Chiara Lubich, Focolare founder. Secretly consecrated to God on December 7, 1943, the young Italian teacher received a special call a year later, during the Second World War. While praying with some friends who were willing to live this consecrated life with her, she was struck by these particular words of the readings of the day: “Ask it of me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, and, as your possession, the ends of the earth.”(Ps 2:8). The spirituality of unity, through this prayer of Jesus, “So that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21), highlights the charism of Movement.

Silvia Lubich, her real name, would never have imagined that, a few decades later, the spiritual family of the Focolare would expand to 182 countries. The movement is Catholic, yet, also brings together faithful members of various churches, friends of other religions and non-believers, each adhering to this spiritual family in one’s own way, remaining faithful to one’s respective Church and conscience.  If the consecrated laity constitute the beating heart of the movement, the spiritual family has widely expanded, giving rise to diversity – from religious to the young. To explain the unusually colorful composition of these people, Chiara was referring to this representation of Mary in the Middle Ages, that with her cloak “wraps and protects castles and churches, craftsmen and monks, bishops and mothers of families, rich and poor, in short, the city with all its inhabitants “.

Jordan, a fertile land for unity

In the last 25 years, representatives of all the churches in Jordan were present, in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martín, Latin Patriarch Emeritus Fouad Twal and Bishop Emeritus Maroun Lahham.  In 1975, the Movement had gradually taken roots in Jordan on the initiative of Lebanese members such as Arlette, now responsible for the Focolare in the Middle East. She joined during the Lebanon war, and was struck by “the profound peace that pervaded this community despite the events”.  “Living this charism is to live the Gospel in the world and bring unity where we happen to be,” she explains. The movement has nearly 150 members in Jordan in several houses in Amman and Fuheis, but the Focolare family brings together much more widely, believers or non-believers throughout Jordan.

Thus, a young Muslim woman who testified during this anniversary is proud to count more than 17 years of friendship in the Movement, “Building unity does not require great speeches, it passes first through the heart” concluded May, one of the active members. “Chiara has traveled the world to bring love and it is a model for all generations.” In the Middle East, the movement continues to grow slowly, particularly in Iraq and Syria, where it plays a valuable role among the population. At the time of conflicts and wars that we know, the charism of unity is of course in its principal place.  

Claire Guigou

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