Director of Focolare Priests Dies

ROME, FEB. 18, 2007 ( Father Silvano Cola, head of the diocesan-priests’ branch of the Focolare Movement, died suddenly on Saturday of cardiac arrest. He was 79.

“The Father has called Father Silvano Cola to himself,” said a communiqué from the Focolare Movement.

On announcing the news of the priest’s death, Focolare founder Chiara Lubich highlighted Father Cola’s “untiring generosity” in carrying out his work.

In recent years, Father Cola shared the responsibility of the secretariat for the “first dialogue,” which was instituted by Lubich to promote communion among ecclesial movements and new communities, in response to Pope John Paul II’s wish.

Silvano Cola was born Jan. 22, 1928, in Camerino, Italy. He was ordained a few months after his 23rd birthday.

In 1964, in agreement with his archbishop, he moved to the Focolare Movement’s center.

In 1990 he took part in the synod of bishops on priestly formation. He was a member of the movement’s general council.

His funeral will be held Tuesday at the Mariapolis Center of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

Some 20,000 priests and deacons make up the priestly branch of the Focolare Movement. The branch also includes some 5,000 seminarians.