5 Indians attend Focolare Movement’s first international youth assembly

By Matters India Reporter

Rome, September 12, 2019: Four Catholics and a Hindu from India are among 200 young people from 67 countries attending the Focolare Movement’s first international youth assembly now underway at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome.

The September 10-15 assembly has drawn youth from various Christian denominations and other religions from around the world. All have been called to draw up proposals and a shared vision for the next six years, said Anna Lisa Innocenti, the organizer.

The Focolare Movement is an international organization founded in 1943 by Chiara Lubich to promote the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood.

The idea for the assembly first emerged in 2017 and has developed since then through numerous pre-assemblies in various locations around the world.

The Indian delegates are Julie Pao, Kumberly Nigrel, Daphne De Souza, Anthony P. Georgy and Laxman Kami.

Marco Cardilli, youth coordinator of Focolare Movement India, told Matters India that the five are learning from others ways to build a united world before returning home with new ideas to foster harmony in society.

Nicholas, a 27-year-old Italian, points out a new thirst among young people for something challenging and authentic.

“We’re very aware of the issues facing today’s world. And we realize that it’s too difficult to do anything about them on our own. We know how to link up with many other young people who want to be agents of change. And we can work together with the older generations too,” said the member of the commission that prepared for the first international youth assembly.

Amanda, 29, from Brazil, another member of the commission,” says many young people had expressed the desire to meet together and talk about issues important to their generation.

“At the same time, older Focolare members asked the young ones how they viewed the movement and the specific contribution they could make to the cause of a united world.

Innocenti said they have researched dynamic engaging methods to enable the young people present to express themselves freely while sharing ‘an experience of God.

The participants have come from “Youth for a United World,” young members of the parish and diocesan movements, the movement’s seminarians (known as ‘Gens’) and young religious and consecrated in formation (known as ‘GenRe’).

So, this is an innovative development for the Focolare – to bring together representatives of all the different youth expressions within the movement.

To facilitate collaboration, a 15-member preparatory commission was formed in November 2018. They came from different youth wings in various parts of the world, most of them under 30.

The assembly discussions included the best way to ascertain the thoughts and desires of young people around the world.

The Focolare Movement that came to India in 1980 has communities and centers in Bangalore, Goa, Darjeeling, New Delhi, that promote activities and meetings for adults, families and young people.

The Focolare communities undertake various social projects, engage in child education, work for improving conditions for women, and support families in economic difficulties. They stress particularly the spread “universal fraternity” among adolescents of all religions.

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