Focolari Movement IS spread on all five continents, like a tiny nation of different races, cultures and languages. People of different professions and social status, Christian traditions, different religions and beliefs tend to be the seed of more solidary and in a more united world.
The basic information about the movement
This movement of unity and universal brotherhood begins in the maelstrom of hatred and violence of the World War II. In 1943, in Trent Chiara Lubich discovers the Gospel with her friends. Together they live it in their everyday life, starting their work in the poorest parts of the town. Both their personal and community life takes on a qualitative leap. This first group soon becomes a Movement which spreads first in Italy, then in Europe and throughout the world.
A new current of spirituality based on the Gospel of love is started, and from it emerges a movement of spiritual and social renewal: the spirituality of unity, with an emphasized mark of togetherness.
A new lifestyle emerges from it as well. Inspired by Christian principles – not neglecting, but, moreover, emphasizing parallel values of other religions and cultures – it responds to general questions about the meaning and authenticity of life and contributes to peace and unity in the world: they bow down prejudices, and the seed of truth and love which exists in different cultures turns into mutual enrichment; opens new views in various social environments – in culture, politics, economics, art…
By living this spirituality in different environments and cultures, numerous fruitful dialogues were opened in the Catholic world, among individuals, groups, movements and organizations, contributing to the achievement of unity – among Christians of different Churches that all contribute to the full mutual communion among believers of different religions and people of other beliefs. Together, they are going towards that fullness of truth and the overall brotherhood to which we all aspire. Although we all live the same spirituality, due to the differences of the people who comprise it – and these are young people, adults, children, families and priests, monks and nuns of various congregations and bishops – the movement is divided into 27 branches. Little by little there has been concrete achievements, for example, in the field of culture, it us Abba school; in economics it is the economy of communion project which includes more than 700 companies … Towns of certificates have been risen, the work on the social plane has multiplied, publishing house are opened, books and newspapers printed…
Focolari Movement belongs to the phenomenon of the flourishing of ecclesial movements, which the Pope called “the response of the Holy Spirit to the dramatic challenge at the end of the second millennium.”
The movement had already been approved by the Holy See in 1962, and due to its continuous development and growth it was again confirmed and 1990. But the last modifications and approval of the general Statute of the Movement of Focolare was carried out in 2007. It was followed by several approvals by Orthodox Churches, Anglican and Evangelical churches, other religions, as well as many cultural and international bodies.
The first seeds of this new spirituality found fertile ground in our area in the sixties already. Women’s Focolare was opened in Subotica in 1976, and in 1978 it moved to Belgrade. Men’s Focolare opend in 1977in Novi Sad and was run until 1985, after which it moved to Zagreb again. From then on, this living cell of the laity in virginity is the heart that lives and supports communities and individuals – from Belgrade and Vojvodina, to Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Members of the Movement spend numerous Saturdays and Sundays, traveling to different cities, overcoming distances and boundaries, but then feeling strongly how the wave of love they had given inevitably returns. In 1987, the presence of Mary’s work in Belgrade was enriched by the Focolare priest; among others, Reverend Jože Hauptman came here.
The priests who live in the spirit of the Movement meet every week to share their experiences and find strength for all the difficulties they face in the family atmosphere, so that they can joyfully engage in the construction of the local Church. Their contribution in all aspects of Work is inevitable. The arrival of the family Snoj from Slovenia to Belgrade in 1989 was a great support. Snoj spouses cared for married couples in a special way and groups of families were spontaneously born in many cities in a short period of time.
While in the time of the old political system in silence and without noise it was attempted to restore life to people of different calls in the Work, in recent years we have witnessed how God opens avenues to get in touch with many representatives of social life, who find the answer to the aspirations they carry in the heart in the ideas of the Movement, so we can spread the network of community and give a new face to the environment in which we live. In that endeavor several large conferences were organized, such as, for example, 2004 manifestation “Together for Europe” in Sava Center in Belgrade and in 2005 family festival called Familyfest in Novi Sad, which brought together 1,300 participants!
Traditional Marijapoli Sokograd represent a special experience of unity in diversity – a community vacation in the monastery of St. Nicolas in Sokograd.
Through walks in the hills, conversations, roundtables, workshops… it becomes a place of dialogue and mutual learning for about 200 participants of different religious beliefs, national origin, of all ages and professions.
The latest news is that men Focolar “returned” to Belgrade in 2008. It is made up of three of Focolares for now – and this is due to the growth of many local communities, particularly in Vojvodina.
The official website for Focolare Movement in Serbia: www.fokolar.rs