Pope Urges Focolare Friends in Efforts Toward Unity

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 27, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged bishops of several Churches and Christian communities, friends of the Focolare Movement, to continue to seek unity among Jesus’ disciples.

The Pope’s words resonated in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, after reciting the midday Angelus.

“Dear brothers,” the Holy Father told the bishops, “I am pleased by the special commitment you make to the service of full Christian unity and I wish all the best for the diocesan communities that have been entrusted to you.”

The 45 bishops from 20 countries around the world were attending a weeklong meeting in the Mariapolis Center of Castel Gandolfo. The meeting ends today.

At the end of Sunday’s meeting, the Holy Father received the prelates in private audience.

A communiqué issued by the Focolare Movement said that, over these days, the bishops have sought to deepen their “love of Christ crucified and forsaken as the indispensable way to advance toward full visible communion among Christians, and to promote universal fraternity in the world.”

In past years, these bishops met in cities such as Istanbul and Bucharest. The present group includes bishops of 22 churches and ecclesial communities of the East and West.

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