What is the Focolare Movement?
The Focolare Movement began in 1943 during the Second World War as a current of spiritual and social renewal. ‘A people born from the Gospel,’ is how it was defined by its foundress Chiara Lubich (1920-2008), a charismatic and significant woman of the 20th century.
The Focolare Movement, whose official name is the Work of Mary, was approved by the Holy See in 1962 and is now present everywhere in the world, like a vast and varied family.
Its members are people of every age and vocation, coming from different social backgrounds, cultures, ethnic groups and religions. These are composed mainly of laypersons: adults, families, youth, teenagers, and children, but also includes men and women religious, priests, and bishops.
Today the Movement is present in 182 countries. It has approximately 2 million adherents and people who are sympathetic to its goals – the majority being Roman Catholic. There are a growing number of those of other Christian faith traditions from 350 churches and ecclesial communities. The Movement also includes many from other world faiths such as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs. There are also those in the Movement who do not adhere to any particular religious faith.
What is its Purpose?
The purpose of the Movement is to foster in others the gift of unity, according to the prayer of Jesus to the Father: "that they may all be one" (John 17:21). Its members are committed to working, first and foremost, for an ever deeper unity among the faithful of the Catholic Church. They strive to establish relationships of fraternal communion and of common witness with other Christian sisters and brothers, as a contribution to the restoration of full unity.
Its members also endeavor to achieve, through dialogue with persons of other religions, and through activities of common interest, the deepest possible union in God among all believers.
They establish relationships and dialogue with persons of no religious affiliation, and work together with them towards common goals in order to strengthen universal brotherhood throughout the world and to open up their hearts to Christ.
Is the Movement Present in the Diocese of Tucson?
In 1980, the Focolare Movement arrived in Tucson, Arizona. Since then, a small community of laypersons has grown and spread to the Diocese of Phoenix. The Arizona Communities are part of the life that is flourishing throughout the western US, in California cities like Los Angeles, Madera, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco; and a presence in the states of Washington, Montana, and Hawaii.
The Focolare Communities foster a greater understanding of how it is possible to put the Gospel into practice in everyday life — in the family, with neighbors, co-workers, classmates, everyone!
How may I be a part of the Movement?
Each month there is an informal gathering in Tucson where the community comes together to update and encourage each other through personal experiences of putting the Gospel into practice in concrete ways. A tool to support this goal is the monthly Word of Life. The Word of Life is a sentence of Scripture with an accompanying commentary that is prepared by the Focolare and offered monthly as a guide and inspiration for daily life. The Word of Life is translated into 96 different languages and dialects and reaches more than 14 million people worldwide through print, radio and TV media.
What are the benefits of Living the Word of Life?
As Chiara Lubich once said that living the Word of Life brings the following fruits:
- Brings light to our life
- Makes us free
- Guarantees happiness
- Gives us peace
- Purifies us
- Is effective
- Obtains everything
- Brings about union with God
- Gives us hope of eternal life
- Makes us one
- Builds community
What are other opportunities available?
Locally, a one-day Mariapolis (City of Mary) is held periodically. The participants enjoy fellowship, programs, personal testimonials, and activities that further explore the Focolare’s Spirituality of Unity. Duel program topics and activities appropriately provided for adults and youth ensure that there will be topics of interest for everyone.
Larger multi-day annual Summer Mariapolises are held in California in a variety of settings and with different programs. Each of these temporary “Cities of Mary” is a portion of society renewed by evangelical love. Cultural, racial, religious and generational differences disappear in this mosaic of humanity made one family by a common desire to build unity and to provide a sustainable answer to the prayer of Jesus to the Father: "that they may all be one" (John 17:21).
These Mariapolises provide an occasion to gather with others and, in a dialogue of true openness, learn to be a gift for one another.
Would you like to know more?
If you have questions, wish to obtain more information about Focolare Community activities in the Diocese of Tucson, or to receive the Word of Life, please contact:
Michael Johnson, Co-coordinator at (520) 296-9921
Elizabeth Solinsky, Co-coordinator at (520) 760-1828.
More information about the Focolare Movement is available on www.focolare.org/usa.