Loreto Grants Citizenship to Focolare Leader

Founder Received 1st Inspiration in Mary

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ROME, NOV. 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Focolare movement is now an honorary citizen of the city where the Blessed Virgin's house sits -- in honor of the fact that Chiara Lubich received her first inspiration to found the group within the walls of that holy house.



"This is a great moment for the city of Loreto," but also "for all those who share the plan that Chiara Lubich had in her heart: to unite institutions and politics to spirituality," said Moreno Pieroni, mayor of the Italian city.

On Oct. 25, he opened the ceremony to grant distinguished citizenship in memory of the founder of the Focolare, to Maria Voce, the current president of the movement.

The mayor mentioned the timeliness and depth of the "spiritual, cultural and operative message" of Lubich.
 
He also spoke of "her work based on the ideal of fraternity, the impetus she gave to the renewal of politics, the economy, pedagogy and many realms of society, and to the dialogue she established with humanity, overcoming differences of race, religions and cultures."
 
May she be an "example above all for those who work in the political world," he said.

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The honor coincides with the 70th anniversary of Lubich's visit to the holy house of Loreto, where she had "the first intuition of a new way in the Church," a statement from the movement explained.

Voce said Lubich's intuition shows "an intervention of God," beyond "rational explanations."
 
"When the Divine invades history, it does not have the sound of trumpets, but [does so] submissively as in Nazareth," the president reflected.

She said Lubich's experience is set in history and "unites simple and holy faithful who within those walls have had the revelation of God's plan for their life and there have pronounced their 'Let it be done unto me.'"

Archbishop Giovanni Tonucci of Loreto also noted the parallel between Lubich and the Blessed Mother: "Among those stones, which witnessed the incarnation of the Son of God, that intuition was born in Chiara from which infinite horizons would open, which hope to be enlarged and realized by all who have received her legacy."