Focolare Movement Plans New Center in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, DEC. 18, 2003 ( The foundations have been laid in old Jerusalem for a Focolare spirituality and study center, next to the stone steps where tradition says Jesus on Holy Thursday prayed to the Father for unity.

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The initiative is in the context of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Focolare Movement, celebrated last week, when members took up the first collection for the project.

An agreement was signed last month by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, granting a plot of land in perpetuity to the Focolarini for the project.

It is the realization of a dream which founder Chiara Lubich had since her first visit to the Holy Land in 1956.

The Focolare Movement, founded in 1943, today involves 4.5 million people in 182 countries; more than 2 million are followers and sympathizers. It emphasizes a spirituality of unity, including ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and dialogue with nonbelievers.

The Focolare Movement has been active in the Holy Land for 25 years. It has centers in Jerusalem and Haifa.

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