Thousands Pay Last Respects to Focolare Founder

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ROME, MARCH 17, 2008 ( The chapel where the body of Chiara Lubich has been laid to rest was visited by thousands of visitors over the weekend, paying their last respects to the Focolare founder.

Lubich, 88, died Friday in her home at Rocca di Papa, a few miles from Rome. Her coffin is accompanied by an image of the Virgin of Czestochowa, given her by Pope John Paul II, and a crucifix before which she liked to pray, reported a communiqué sent out by the Focolare movement.

Cardinal Stansilaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for Laity, was among those who paid tribute to the founder. The cardinal said, "I had several meetings with Chiara. […] But each meeting with her has been for my life an event that has left a very deep mark. She was a person who, with her enthusiasm for the things of God, spread it to all those who spoke to her."

Brother Alois, prior of the Taize Community and the successor of its founder, also visited the chapel: "We in Taize give thanks to God for the life of Chiara. She is a light for us. And this light remains with us."

The funeral will be Tuesday at St. Paul's Outside the Walls, and presided over by the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

A video report of these events is available at H2oNews.