«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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|Church Center, United Nations: 50 years of Focolare in the USA|
|Written by Focolare Movement|
|Sunday, April 03, 2011|
On April 3 leaders from the world’s main faiths met together at the UN’s Church Centre, to celebrate 50 years of the Focolare movement in the USA.
At the UN Church Center, where religions meet together, leaders from the world’s main faiths met on April 3rd to celebrate to 50 years of work of the Focolare Movement in the United States. The meeting was set up by “Religions for Peace”, and was hosted by its secretary general, William Vendley.
There was warmth more than cordiality in the air. Everyone referred to the Focolare president as simply “Maria”. To use her surname would have been out of place, because each of those present had met Chiara personally and the relationship was at that level.
“Chiara was one of those people who assisted the birth of Religions for Peace”, William Vendley said, “and in many countries the focolare sustains our initiatives.” He quoted William James, US philosopher, who when speaking about religion said that if something is true, then it must make a difference to the lives and to the priorities of those who practice it. And turning to Maria, “Well, we watch you and we see that your way of living your faith makes a difference. We notice the beauty that emerges from your daily lives.”
Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, seemed to be speaking to himself in a meditative way when he said, “I think of Chiara: open, welcoming, always vivacious, source of the spirit of Focolare. I feel Chiara close to me, as she is to many.” Then on a different note he made a proposal, “I would not like to anticipate the decisions of the Holy See, but I would say that it is time to begin the cause for her beatification.” And he went on, “I may be speaking out of turn, but according to me she is a doctor of the Church.”
After him the Vatican’s permanent observer at the UN, Archbishop Chullikatt, underlined what “the Focolare is doing in dialogue between faiths, while respecting differences”, and that “your presence makes a difference in many parts of the world, in many dramatic circumstances.” Those in the room were suddenly reminded of the many troubled parts of the world, and of particular poignancy were the contributions of Dawud Assad, president of Council of mosques, USA, Norma Levitt, of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, and of Yasuko Niwano, daughter of the President of the Rissho Kosei Kai.
“Here too we have seen what has emerged in each moment of this fiftieth anniversary celebration”, concluded the Focolare president, “a “thank you” to Chiara. I recognise that the spirit does not die and that Chiara is alive and present. Her family has grown in the USA too, and embraces all of you. Let us continue to build bridges, and to sow seeds of peace, fraternity and unity. We have done so in the past, and we want to carry on doing so together with you.”