She was the initiator of new ways of living the Christian life, a woman with
a profound “Marian” identity who, consecrating herself totally to God, was entrusted with a gift for the Church and the world: the charism of unity.

These, in brief, are the cornerstones of the life of Chiara and the Focolare Movement which Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko highlighted at the Mass celebrated on March 14 in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome’s oldest Marian shrine, on the occasion
of the eleventh anniversary of Chiara’s death.

Chiara in the early 2000s
Chiara in the early 2000s

Besides Maria Voce, Jesús Morán and a large group of “Chiara’s people,” civil and religious representatives from the diplomatic world and various Christian movements were present.

It was a varied assembly which seemed to embrace humanity just as Chiara did. “How often did you hear Chiara say these words,” recalled Cardinal Ryłko, “what counts is love. It is love that makes the world move forward, so if someone also has a mission to carry out it is all the more fruitful, the more it is imbued with love.”

“The challenges we face today, collectively and as individuals, are no less significant than those Chiara had to face when she started out,” said a girl who has just come to know the Focolare. Nothing is more relevant than her message of unity today and her vision of a world which, with its diversity and its contradictions, can go ahead united even amid the polarizations that seem to be tearing relationships apart.

Chiara on the right with elder brother Gino and youngest sister Carla.
Chiara on the right with elder brother Gino and youngest sister Carla.

In the words of Cardinal Ryłko, one could sense the fraternal friendship he shared for many years with the Focolare foundress – “We traveled a long stretch of road together” – and his deep awareness of the gift that God had given her.

“In the life of a Movement, it is very important to remember its origins,” he stressed. “Just as water is always clearer at the source, the beginning of a charism always presents itself in all its fascinating beauty and newness. This is how the Movement can better discover its identity. Your most profound identity is contained in the very name of your Movement: the Work of Mary.

A special presence of Mary has accompanied you right from the start. This Marian dimension characterizes the whole of your missionary commitment in the world. Pope Francis often speaks of a ‘Marian style of evangelization’ as the one best suited to our times.”

A moment of the Mass commemorating the 11th anniversary of Chiara Lubich's departure for Heaven.
A moment of the Mass commemorating the 11th anniversary of Chiara Lubich’s departure for Heaven.

He then defined the Focolare people as a “new generation” of men and women, young people and new families who are all in love with the love of God and the ideal of unity.
In fact, 2020 will be marked by numerous initiatives and events of various kinds aimed at “celebrating and encountering” Chiara, as the motto of the centenary goes.

As Maria Voce said, “We would like to celebrate the wave of new and universal life that the charism of unity has brought to our own personal stories and those of many peoples and cultures.

We want to do this by giving as many people as possible all over the world the opportunity to ‘meet’ Chiara today, so as to get to know her as a person and rediscover the relevance of her charism and the vision she had of the world as a family of brothers and sisters.

It is a vision which goes against the current in this age of resurgent individualism and sovereignty. I am sure that a personal and collective encounter with Chiara will continue to inspire people, ideas and projects animated by the spirit of unity.”

Maria Voce with members and friends of the Focolare at a Mass in memory of Chiara Lubich in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome last March 2019
Maria Voce with members and friends of the Focolare at a Mass in memory of Chiara Lubich in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome last March 2019

Celebrations will begin in Chiara’s hometown of Trent, on December 7 this year with the inauguration of a large multimedia exhibit dedicated to Chiara which will be replicated in various capitals around the world. Groups of people will be visiting Trent throughout the year to learn more about Chiara and her spiritual heritage.

During the year, in and around Rome, various events will be held to offer people the chance to discover the life and work of Chiara in everyday life from the house where she lived to the chapel at the Center of the Movement where she was laid to rest.

Stefania Tanesini

Maria Voce announces the centenary of Chiara Lubich’s birth (1920-2020)

In a letter to the whole Focolare Movement, dated December 7, 2018, the 75th anniversary of the day when Chiara Lubich consecrated her life to God, Maria Voce, Focolare President, has announced that in 2020 the centenary of Chiara Lubich’s birth will be celebrated.

“We are getting closer to the year 2020 during which we will celebrate the centenary of Chiara Lubich’s birth,” Maria Voce wrote. “This anniversary will, of course, be a unique opportunity; first of all, to thank God for the gift that Chiara was for us and for many people across the world.

In fact, all of us were won over by the charism God gave to her and that changed or is changing, our lives in a deep way. It will be a favorable time in which many other people will be able to meet Chiara who is living today in her Work.”

Maria Voce ended her letter saying, “From now on, let’s ask for the abundance of the Holy Spirit, for us and all that we want to achieve, but, above all, for all the people who will have the chance to get to know Chiara and her charism.”

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