Pope Hails Focolare Movement's Charism

Greets Its Bishop-friends

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 8, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI greeted a group of 85 participants in the annual congress of bishop-friends of the Focolare Movement, and called the organization's charism of unity a richness for the Church.



The bishops attending the meeting, held in Castel Gandolfo (south of Rome), are from around the world, including countries such as Lebanon, Sudan and Pakistan.

The meeting, which ends Friday, is on the theme "The Crucified and Forsaken Christ, a Light in the Cultural Night."

The Pope greeted the bishops today in audience, along with the bishop-friends of the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio.

Benedict XVI said that he was pleased to take advantage of "this occasion to send Chiara Lubich my best wishes and blessing, which I extend to all the members of the movement that she founded."

The Pope said: "The Focolare Movement, precisely from the heart of its spirituality, that is, Jesus crucified and forsaken, underlines the charism and the service of unity, which is realized in the different social and cultural realms as, for example, in the economic, with the 'economy of communion,' and through the paths of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue."

During the meeting, the Pontiff said that bishops and the new ecclesial realities that have arisen over the last decades "can together address with stronger drive the challenges" that urgently face them at the "beginning of the third millennium."

The Holy Father said he was thinking "in the first place of the search for justice and peace and of the urgency to build a more fraternal and solidaristic world, beginning precisely in the countries some of you come from, which are being tried by bloody conflicts."

Lubich founded the Focolare Movement in Trent, Italy, in 1943.