«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
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|2010 Meeting of the Movements with Cardinal George|
|Written by Midwest Focolare|
|Thursday, October 28, 2010|
"Suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:2-3)
On the evening of October 26, 2010 at the Holy Name Cathedral (Chicago, IL) more than 500 members of the area’s ecclesial movements and communities met around Francis Cardinal George for an annual appointment that has become like a yearly family reunion. The day’s incredible wind storm did not deter them. Rather, it brought to mind the Pentecost gathering of movements in Vatican square on May 30, 1998, when 300,000 gathered around Pope John Paul II. In her welcome, Mary FioRito, Executive Assistant to Cardinal George and the Cardinal’s liaison to the movements, saw in the Chicago wind storm an encounter with the Holy Spirit.
Francis Cardinal George, starting in March 2000, has called for a yearly convocation with members of all the area’s movements. This year, in his prepared address Cardinal George recalled what he asked of the movements at that first gathering, and how these requests have been met.
Ten years ago, the cardinal asked the movements to help him in two particular regards. He asked that they be a force and presence of unity in the archdiocese. He also asked that the movements contribute to formation of the faithful. Considering what has transpired over these ten years, he offered gratitude for the movements’ work, saying, "What unity there is now." He also recognized how well formed the many members of the movements are in their faith and how they contribute the formation of so many others.
Each meeting of this extended family centers on a theme. Anticipating the upcoming World Youth Day and acknowledging the cardinal’s love for and commitment to young people, it was natural that this year’s theme be Youth. The evening took the form of a dialog between the cardinal and the youth of the movements.
Following the cardinal’s opening address, the sanctuary of Holy Name Cathedral became a living room of sorts, a moment of family sharing. The young people sang, accompanied by pictures, video, and art; and they posed questions. In response, the cardinal offered words of wisdom that touched on their deepest yearnings, sufferings, and hopes, and their place in spreading the Good News in today’s world.
The dialog began with the story of Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, a young member of the Focolare Movement who passed away in 1990 and was beatified on September 25, 2010. The young people shared Chiara Luce's life through a short video and the dramatic reading of pieces from her faith-filled diary, ending with a song written in her honor that spoke of the holy journey all are called to live together.
The sustained applause that followed showed the deep impact of the simple but determined "yes" from this contemporary seventeen-year-old. By beatifying her, the Church offers Chiara Luce Badano as a model who demonstrates that life has meaning in all its aspects, both in joy and in suffering.
The evening continued with a question and answer session between Cardinal George and twelve representatives from the movements. He responded extemporaneously to the frank questions of these young men and women, entering their world and offering wisdom from the gospel and from his own experience.
As has become customary, the formal program opened up into an informal gathering. In the adjacent parish hall the members of many movements spent time together as brothers and sisters of one family. Cardinal George remained, visiting and getting to know many.
The Archdiocesan website has a list of the movements in the area and their contact information. In his Catholic New World column, “New Movements in the Church: Sign of the Spirit for our Times,” Cardinal George speaks of the movements and their contribution to the faithful, society, and the Church.