Last Monday, September 2, 2019, the Holy Father met with the President and Co-President of the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce and Jesús Morán, in a private audience in the Vatican at 10:45 A.M. (CEST).
In a video interview published by focolare.org, Maria Voice and Jesús Morán shared how the meeting with the Pontiff went.
“The whole meeting was marked by great trust, by great openness. He kept saying, ‘Go ahead, go ahead’ – he will have repeated it a thousand times. He thanked us for the good we do and we felt that he was really happy to see us”, Maria Voce said.
Jesús Morán, on the other hand, said, “I immediately thought of Chiara’s experience when she went to Paul VI who told her, ‘Everything is possible here.’ Everything really is possible there. We will have to see concretely but he told us, ‘Go ahead, carry ahead all that Chiara foresaw,’ because then we talked about many things, even practical ones.”
The President and the Co-President of the Movement also brought with them gifts to the Holy Father including a book of Chiara’s link-ups which Maria Voce said, the Pope “looked at with care”. They also gave him an icon of Mary called “Joy of all the Afflicted” which was appreciated by Pope Francis. “He loved both the title and the icon itself because he said that it was new to him and that seeing the images of people who were suffering and were going towards Mary reminded him of the last pages of Manzoni’s book where all the lepers in the hospital pray to Mary and invoke her in their affliction”, Maria Voce shared.
The meeting was requested by Maria Voce through a letter dated June 18, 2019 which received a prompt feedback from the Vatican. Before the appointment, Maria Voce asked members of the Movement to offer prayers so that “it may give joy to the Pope and be a grace for the whole Focolare Movement”.
This encounter comes as an important year in the Movement draws closer. The year 2020 will mark the 100th Birth Anniversary of Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, which will be observed through various ways in different parts of the world. More than a year ago, Maria Voce wrote a letter to the whole Focolare Movement to announce the celebration, describing it as a “unique opportunity” for other people “to get to know Chiara and her charism [of unity]”. The official motto of the celebration is “Celebrate to Meet”.
The year 2020 will also be essential to the internal life of the Movement as the General Assembly will take place in September with the election of a new President and Co-President and which will also give the orientation of the Movement for the next six years.