Work of Mary
ALSO KNOWN AS
At the beginning of the 1940s, in the climate of hatred and violence of the Second World War, Chiara Lubich - a young elementary school teacher in Trent, her native city, whose thirst for truth had led her to enrol at the Philosophy Faculty of Venice University — discovered God is the only ideal which endures when everything else is falling down. With her first companions, in the shelters during air raids, she only took the Gospels with her. She was to write later that "those words seemed to be enlightened with a new light". God is love. In the commandment to love one another, thtey discovered the heart of the Gospel; in the testament of Jesus "that they all may be one", the divine plan for universal unity and the purpose of their life; in the crucified Jesus who called out that his Father had abandoned him, the secret for the building of unity everywhere. From their experience of the Gospel lived in daily life, a specific communitarian spirituality emerged, which gave rise to the Focolare Movement. In 1948, Chiara met Igino Giordani, member of Parliament, a writer, journalist and pioneer of ecumenism. Recognised as the co-founder thanks to the contribution that he made to the embodiment of the spirituality of unity in the social environment, he was to be the first married Focolarino. Fr Pasquale Foresi is also recognised as co-founder, and is the first Focolarino priest, who made a major contribution to the introduction of theological studies into the Movement, founding the Città Nuova publishing house and the Cittadella at Loppiano. On 29 June 1990, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed recognition of the Work of Mary (The Focolare Movement) as an international association of the faithful of Pontifical Right.
The Work of Mary was given this name because of its particular link with the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ and of all men and women, of whom it wishes to be a reflection on earth, as far as possible. The Marian nature of the Movement is institutionally expressed in terms of its Presidency, which is lay and female. The variety of people that belong to it, its worldwide spread, its purposes and the works that it undertakes, all to a certain extent reflect the universality of the Church. Its specific feature is the pursuit of the ideal of unity which gives it its spirit, its aims, its structure and its government. This is why it is committed to working for ever greater unity between the faithful of the Catholic Church; to establish communion and a common testimony with other Christian brothers and sisters in order to restore full unity; to achieve, through dialogue and common activities together with people of other religions, union in God among all believers, as the way of enabling them to come to know Christ; to engage in dialogue with people of goodwill and to work together with them for common purposes, to strengthen universal brotherhood throughout the whole world and to open up their hearts to Christ.
The Movement is governed by the General Assembly, and the Centro dell’Opera, comprising the President, co-President and Vicar, and the General Councillors. The Movement is divided into zones, with their own management bodies which answer to the Centro dell’Opera. At the heart of the Focolare Movement are "focolare centres" for men and women who live life in common or married life. An integral part of the Movement are the branches for diocesan priests and deacons, volunteers, and gens (children and young people), and gen’s (young men with a vocation to the priesthood), religious, and bishops who are friends of the Movement, and also the following movements (branches working in many different ecclesial and civil fields): New Families, New Humanity, Young People for a United World, Youths for Unity, the Parish Movement.
The Work of Mary has 140,440 members in over 180 countries. The countries where Centers of common life ("Focolare") are present are 89 as follows: Africa (17), Asia (14), Europe (31), Middle East (6), North America (8), Oceania (3), and South America (10). There are about 4.5 million other people who are involved more broadly in the Movement, including 47,000 from other churches; 30,000 co-workers and sympathisers belonging to other faiths, and 70,000 co-workers and sympathisers without religious convictions.
The Work of Mary has created a large number of Mariapolis Centres, which are places for spiritual and social formation and ecumenical and interfaith meetings; Cittadelle, which are places where members of the Movement can stay and socialise, with training schools, craft activities and farms; non-governmental organisations for international cooperation, such as AMU and New Humanity; publishing houses; audiovisual Centres; international musical groups; artistic production centres; the "Economy of Communion" project implemented in the management of 761 companies; a residential middle school and higher secondary school in Cameroon; social schools for education in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue; courses for family mediators; vocational training schools.
Città Nuova, published fortnightly (25 languages, 40 editions); Nuova Umanità, a cultural journal published every two months, with synopsis translated into five languages; Gen’s, a journal for priests and seminarians published every two months in five languages; Unità e Carismi, published every two months for religious in seven languages; Gen2, a monthly magazine for young people in six languages; Gen3, a magazine published every two months for teenagers in eight languages; Gen4, a magazine published every two months for children in seven languages; Parola di Vita (commentary on words of Scripture), published monthly in 80 languages and 16 local dialects; Economia di Comunione, published twice a year in six editions and six languages.
Movimento dei Focolari
Via di Frascati, 306 - 00040 Rocca di Papa (Roma) - Italy
Tel. [+39]06.947989 - Fax 06.94749320