Chiara Lubich's Cause for Beatification Officially Opened

Pope Sends Message Recalling Focolare Founder’s «Luminous Example of Life»

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In a crowded Cathedral and streamed via Internet  in five Continents, Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Chiara Lubich was opened in a ceremony presided over by Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati. The news spread in the media, almost to confirm a dear and central concept of the thought and mysticism of the founder of the Focolares. “Here is the great attraction of modern times: to penetrate in the loftiest contemplation and to remain mixed among all, man beside man.”

Pope Francis wished to be present through a message signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State and read by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who attended the ceremony. In the message the Holy Father recalled “the luminous example of life of the Founder of the Focolare Movement” left to those “that keep the precious spiritual legacy.” Moreover, he “invoked abundant blessings on all those who are committed in the postulation and exhorts them to make the People of God know the life and works of her who, accepting the Lord’s invitation, has lit a new light for the Church on the path to unity.”

Among those present were several Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, as well as numerous exponents of Movements and Associations, both Catholic and Orthodox. Also present were Muslim and Buddhist faithful. From Trento, the city of Chiara Lubich’s birth, were civil authority representatives, as well as from Frascati, Rocca di Papa and from neighboring municipalities that had her as a fellow citizen. The ceremony, which began at 4:00 pm with the recitation of Vespers, was followed by the Opening Session of the Diocesan Inquiry.

Those present listened attentively and with expectation to the words spoken by Bishop Martinelli, who described the ceremony in the Cathedral as a “rendering of glory and praise to God our Father, because through his sons and daughters he makes his glory shine.»

«It is a service we wish to render to the Church, in order to offer, also to the Church, a testimony of faith, of hope and of charity through the life of one of her daughters.” Highlighting the fact that the task is not easy and must be carried out with criteria of serenity and objectivity, Bishop Martinelli concluded hoping that, with the endeavor now initiated “the glory of the Lord may shine ever more, who willed to make this, our Servant of God, a participant.”

At the end of the celebration, the floor was given to Maria Voce, President of the Focolares. In her greeting, she described the gift that Chiara Lubich was for so many: “Receiving the charism that God was giving her, Chiara was profuse, so that this way of evangelical life would be followed by many, in an ever renewed determination to help all those she met to put God in the first place and to “make ourselves saints together.” Her look and heart were moved by a universal love, capable of embracing all men beyond all differences, always stretched out to realize Jesus’ will: ‘Ut omnes unum sint.’” She also recalled the group of Chiara Lubich’s first women and men companions “who, from the first moment, made it possible to witness the beauty and the possibility to follow together the path of unity.”

“We will await, with humility, the wise judgment of the Holy Father and we ask God, only for his glory and the good of many that, with the eventual recognition of Chiara’s example, humanity and history will be able to experience new developments of peace, unity and universal fraternity,» Voce concluded.</p>

The opening of the Cause aroused many feelings of joy and remembrance of Chiara Lubich’s life. Bishop Felix Machado of Vasai, India, in his capacity of President of the Office for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue of the Federation of Asian Episcopal Conferences, said: “Asia rejoices over the opening of the Cause of Beatification of Chiara Lubich. It is a step that will give great impetus to interreligious dialogue.

With the beginning of the diocesan Inquiry, the Church attributes to Chiara Lubich the title of Servant of God, and continues with the gathering of her unpublished writings and the hearing of witnesses. The Tribunal appointed by Bishop Martinelli is composed of Monsignor Angelo Amati, in his capacity of episcopal delegate; d. Emanuele Fawed-Kazah, promoter of justice, and by Patrizia Sabatini, notary. For its part, the postulation nominated by the President of the Focolares is made up of Fr. Silvestre Marques and by two vice-postulators: Lucia Abignente and Waldery Hilgeman. The Tribunal has already established the next session to hear the testimony of Maria Voce on February 12, 2015.

The course for the start of the Cause was initiated on December 7, 2013, five years after Chiara Lubich’s death, on the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Focolares and with the presentation of the formal request to Bishop Martinelli by the President, Maria Voce, a request expressed on many occasions by those who hoped that with this act there would be spiritual and moral growth in many for the good of humanity.

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Victoria Gomez

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