Focolare Receives Papal Encouragement

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 27, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI urged the members of the Focolare movement to continue on the path laid down by their founder Chiara Lubich.



The Pope addressed the members of the movement's General Assembly today after he recited the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

Lubich, who founded the movement in 1943, died in March. She led the movement for more than 60 years.

Earlier this month the General Assembly elected Maria Voce, 70, as Lubich's successor. The assembly is under way through Thursday at the Mariapolis Center of Castel Gandolfo.

The Holy Father said: "I would now like to greet the Italian pilgrims and, in particular, the large group of participants in the General Assembly of the Focolare movement.

"While I rejoice over the election of new leaders for the movement, I exhort all of you, dear brothers and sisters, to follow with joy and courage the path of Chiara Lubich's spiritual heritage, which is gathered in your statutes, increasing more and more the relationships of communion in the family, community and in every ambit of society."