MANILA, March 17, 2015 — During the commemoration of the 7th death anniversary of Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, on March 14 at the San Carlos Seminary Auditorium, about five hundred of its members and adherents reflected on Chiara’s thoughts and writings about politics and its being a tool to foster universal fraternity.
One who shared her experiences of working in a government office expressed her gratitude to Lubich by saying, “I can only thank Chiara for the gift of the Ideal which has greatly influenced my life and my work in bringing ahead the Kingdom of God in my workplace. In a special way, I thank her for the wisdom of this thought: ‘When unity among us becomes difficult, we must not break, but bend, until love makes the miracle, of one heart and one soul.”’
‘Love of all loves’
According to Ruben Banaag, co-director of the Focolare Movement for Luzon, the celebration of the 7th death anniversary of Chiara Lubich is meant to inspire their members to view politics as the “love of all loves” – that politics has the vocation to create and nurture the conditions that make it possible for the dreams and aspirations of the citizens to flourish and develop.
One of those who talked about their personal realities, Norma Valencia, echoed the words of Chiara: “Our battleground is in the world, while our convent is our workplace where we sanctify our souls.”
Msgr. Antonio Labiao, Vicar-General for Pastoral Program in the Diocese of Novaliches and prime mover of UBAS (Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan), stressed that “globalized indifference”, a term used by Pope Francis could very well apply to most people’s attitude towards politics: one of apathy. UBAS promotes collaboration between barangay officials, parish church leaders and other local leaders in solving problems in the community.
Several Focolare members shared their experiences about how they apply the evangelical values of love and unity in political actions such as: organizing electoral candidates’ for a; voters’ education; and training seminars for Sangguniang Kabataan and barangay officials.
One example is an initiative in Davao City was the establishment of a group called the Guardians of Good Governance and Development. It conducts campaigns against vote buying and monitors performance of elected officials. In some government offices in Palawan, there are groups of people who derive their inspiration for responsible and transparent public service from regular Word of Life meetings. These are small group gatherings where the concrete application of phrases from the Gospel in daily life are shared and discussed.
Political and spiritual
Politicians, government workers from various LGUs in the Philippine, as well as public administration and law students, attended the event.
Similar events were held in Rome, Strasbourg, Madrid, Seoul, Prague, Toronto and other major cities around the globe.
The Focolare is currently present in 194 countries. Every year the said celebration focuses on a theme that highlights Lubich’s thoughts and writings. This year the event is centered on the “Political Dimension of the Focolare Spirituality of Unity”.
The event culminated in the celebration of the Holy Mass. The process for the cause of Lubich’s beatification and canonization was formally opened by Bishop Raffaello Martinelli in the Diocese of Frascati in Rome, Italy on Jan. 27, 2015. (Vanessa M. Puno/CBCPNews)