Congress of Friends of Focolares Is Under Way

85 Cardinals and Bishops Attending

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, FEB. 13, 2001 ( A congress of 85 cardinals and bishops, who are committed to the spirituality of unity, is being held here through Friday.

The prelates, from 37 countries, are friends of the Focolare Movement, founded by Chiara Lubich during World War II. The movement has 4 million members and supporters. The congress is the 25th of its kind.

The focus of the seven-day congress is John Paul II´s recent apostolic letter, “Novo Millennio Ineunte,” with which he closed the Jubilee Year.

The congress includes talks on spirituality, theological reflections and testimonies. Literature for the event notes that it is divided into three sections: “a spirituality to build the Church as communion”; “the crucified and risen Christ as source of ecclesial communion”; and “the new evangelization, which through dialogue reaches the heart of different cultures, believers of various religions, and sociopolitical realities of the globalized world.”

Of utmost importance is the exchange of experiences among bishops, priests, religious and laity on “communion among charisms,” “the potential of pain,” “life of communion and holiness,” and “the abandoned Jesus and the family.”

On Monday afternoon, founder Lubich addressed the meeting. On Thursday, she will hold an open discussion with the bishops and cardinals. Congress participants will attend the Pope´s general audience Wednesday.

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