Last September 17, 2018, after 70 years, a convention was held in Rome to commemorate that first encounter. The event saw the participation of members of both the Italian and European Parliaments, ambassadors, teachers, academics and many people who knew Giordani also through his writings. Promoted by the Focolare Movement with the Chiara Lubich Center, Igino Giordani Center and the Movement for Unity in Politics, for years now, universities of the five continents, associations and local entities, have been supporting and sharing the fundaments of the cultural, social and political project, which are based on the vital encounter between Chiara Lubich and Giordani. We can thus say that the meeting in Rome was the expression of a long partnership and synergy among many.
Upon opening the convention, Donato Falmi, Co-Director of the Focolare in Rome, read the greeting and message of the President of the Italian Republic to Focolare President Maria Voce: “…in expressing my appreciation for this initiative, aimed at nurturing the example of men and women who worked to promote the universal values of peace, brotherhood and solidarity, President Mattarella is conveying to you and the entire Focolare Movement, his best regards and greetings.”
“I had the fortune of meeting Igino Giordani because in my youth,” affirmed Steni Di Piazza, Senator of Palermo, “I met the young people of the Focolare, and attended educational congresses with them. In July 1979, I met Igino Giordani and he told me that when he met Chiara, he felt something new. After many years, I understood that Giordani was referring to politics in the fraternal cooperation and dignity of all the members. And maybe the vocation to politics began to grow in me after that meeting with Igino.”
“This is a good moment to discuss and commemorate that September 17 of 70 years ago, in order to try to highlight those values that marked such an occasion,” underlined Stefano Fassina, Congressman of Rome. “Politics as a vocation should be felt and lived by every citizen, since every citizen is called to be responsible for the public good.”
Unity : A Political Vocation
Going back to September 17, 1948, Giordani recounts the meeting with Chiara in his Memoirs: “I felt something new in the first words of that young lady. There was a note of deep and secure conviction which arose from a supernatural sentiment. So suddenly, my curiosity was aroused and a fire inside me started to burn…” In that encounter, Chiara brought with her the Ideal of unity. “She simply spoke about the divine adventure that had started a few years earlier in Trent, which already triggered the birth of a new Christian community,” Maria Voce affirmed in her speech. “From the beginning, the first focolare women and then the men, nurtured themselves on the Light of this Ideal, as also Igino Giordani, whom Chiara spiritually fed through a prolific correspondence.”
In the era of Catholic politics, Giordani was a leader.
He not only worked in the Parliament but also in the Vatican. But the meeting with Chiara transformed him deeply. “He discovered unity in a new way, as the principle and value of human relationships, especially in politics,” stated the political scientist, Alberto Lo Presti. “That is, he understood that all the partial truths he had believed were decisive in doing good politics, were fulfilled in unity. Unity is the banner of his political vocation.”
Politics as Fruit of Interior Life
Rocco Pezzimenti, Professor of History of Political Doctrines in the Lumsa University of Rome reminds us of Giordani’s two publications: the first, published in 1949 entitled Dehumanism and the second, published in the 1960s, entitled The Two Cities, both of rare and also prophetic depth. Giordani clearly says that from St. Augustine, he acquired a fundamental characteristic: politics is not an improvised event. What occurs in politics is first developed interiorly.”
“If there is a theme we should reflect on today, starting from that encounter between Igino and Chiara,” recalled Marina Sereni, former vice president of the House of Representatives – “it is precisely unity in politics today. And politics is a vocation if it centers on the Common Good, with those values which are not the property of one party, but which target unity.”
Politics, Truth and Life
Lastly, four testimonials. “The first time I heard about Giordani was in the summer of 1946,” recalls Congresswoman Rosa Russo Iervolino, “when my parents were elected in the constituent assembly. Giordani’s interventions in the chamber were always respectful of others but at the same time harsh in making the truth emerge. Giordani was so humble that his humility almost hid his intelligence which was dynamic and always popped up in other ways.”
The following intervention was by Patience Lobe from Cameroon, the first woman to have been appointed Director of the Ministry of Public Works: “From the Focolare spirituality I learned coherence between life and words, and the importance of loving and serving others. Having Chiara, a woman, as a model, gave me strength and courage, without ever making compromises. Chiara has opened my soul and intelligence to the Gospel.”
To conclude, Luca Basile, President of the Town Council of Arzano in the province of Naples said: “Thanks to the Focolare, I was able to live important experiences like cultural exchange and using it as a stimulus to my political commitment in my town. My two predecessors resigned because the town council was dissolved due to Mafia infiltration. You can fully understand how difficult it is to operate in such a territory, but we cannot lose hope when we have Chiara and Igino as our models.”
“To implement what was generated from the encounter between Chiara Lubich and Giordani, we need to take upon us what the country and humanity are going through,” affirmed Letizia De Torre, international coordinator of the Movement for Unity in Politics (MPPU). “May our commitment, imbued with the charism of Chiara Lubich, offer in a complex world, amazing possibilities for unity.”