«That all may be one» (Jn. 17,21)
We were born for these words, for unity, to give a contribution to its realization in the world. Chiara Lubich
|Publications and Media|
|Websites in the world|
|New City Press|
|Big Hope in the New Generations|
|Julie Johnstone 에 의해서 작성|
|목요일, 31 7월 2008|
There are no translations available.
Organized by Professor Gerald Pillay, the Vice Chancellor who awarded Chiara Lubich an honorary Doctorate in Divinity from the University this past year, the conference sought to bring together young leaders in an atmosphere of unity and change. Keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and social events throughout the week focused on goals such as "building a more humane society and "ensuring integrity in public life." Myself, along with two others from the Focolare in Canada were able to attend, along with about 30 other Focolare youth from the Europe, South America, the Middle East, and India.
Struck by the Focolare's contributions to ecumenism and creating an atmosphere of unity, Professor Pillay specifically asked for members of the Focolare to participate in the Big Hope conference to be held at the first university in England to be founded by both Catholics and Anglicans.
Upon arrival, the youth of the Focolare met together to declare a strong Jesus in the Midst that then permeated the conference.
Throughout the week we listened to world renowned speakers such as Mary MacAlese, the president of Ireland who spoke on Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding, the Archbishop of York - Christian Opposition to Oppression, a former President of India - Ignited Minds: The Power of Youth, as well as important Jewish and Muslim figures, and even the chairman of HSBC - an international banking organization. These leaders shared their experiences in the fields of social justice, economics, environmental impact, religion, healthcare, and entertainment. Above all, they shared wisdom on overcoming barriers and answered our questions stemmed from the many world views represented.
Smaller forums were also held to give everyone a chance to directly contribute to the "think tank" of ideas we brought from our own lives. At one point Professor Pillay commented to a group of us that he is not hopeful we will continue to improve our own societies when we returned, but that he EXPECTS us to. In order to build a strong network within these days, we met in groups of 10 each day to do concrete activities or plan for events in our own countries. For example, some groups went out into the Liverpool community to build houses, some learned about economics (Luigino Bruni of the Focolare led one session on the Economy of Communion), some planned research projects concerning social justice topics to be complete upon return to their countries, and some took part in Liverpool's celebration as the 2008 European Capital of Culture by participating in a photography exhibition.
There were many opportunities for discussion, but of course our time to relax also helped build strong friendships! Each evening an event was planned to listen to music from the delegates , explore the city of Liverpool (including the Beatles' favorite spots), participate in various religious traditions, or just hang out in the common areas. One day was dedicated to exploring cities in neighboring English lands. Although the Focolare was one of the largest groups present, we seemed to spread out in the conference hall, at the cafeteria, or at the gym. Many were interested in the spirituality and in the end, our numbers seemed to grow even more!
At the conclusion of the conference, we all felt that our meeting was not just a fleeting moment in time, but something and some people that we will continue to rely on throughout our careers and volunteer endeavors. For me especially, I feel more personally connected with so many different places throughout the world. When I see the news now, I won't feel like the problems are distant, but that I really can do something concrete, or offer a prayer, specifically for that Big Hope friend living in a time of need. I think we all realized throughout the week that each country has it's difficulties, but that we ALL have difficulties and we are ALL working together to overcome them. Just knowing that gives us strength to continue working towards the goal of building a united world.