The Focolare Movement is one of the ecclesial movements within the Catholic Church and is present in over 186 countries. The Church first approved it in 1962 under the official name: “Work of Mary”. Its’ goal of unity originates from Jesus’ last prayer to the Father: “May they all be one” (Jn.17:21).
The Movement was founded in 1943 in Trent, Italy by Chiara Lubich, who died in 2008, at the Focolare headquarters near Rome. The Focolare has been present in the Diocese of Columbus since 1989.
At the time of Chiara Lubich‘s death, Pope Benedict offered his condolences to her family, members of the Focolare Movement and all those “who appreciated her constant commitment for communion in the Church, for ecumenical dialogue and for brotherhood among all peoples.” The cause for her canonization was officially opened in January 2015.
There are single men and women consecrated to God who live in separate communities called Focolare centers that are at the core of the Movement. However, the greater part of the Movement is made up of thousands of lay people of all ages: children, teens, young adults, families, Diocesan Priests, Men and Women Religious, and people of all walks of life and backgrounds. Approximately 2 million people worldwide adhere to its spirituality – a modern spirituality based on living the Gospel in everyday life, which has spread primarily by life example and the witness of the Gospel.
When they are invited to parishes or school halls or private homes in a diocese, members of the Focolare Movement share its spirituality of unity with large and small groups. They have also been invited to share their life with other Christian groups and with those of other faiths who are drawn to the Gospel message of unity, peace, and love.
In the Apostolic Letter: “At the beginning of the New Millennium” of Pope John Paul II, he mentions the Church’s “need to promote a spirituality of communion” (Cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, 43-45). This is precisely what the spirituality of the Focolare Movement strives to live and share: a “spirituality of communion” born from the Gospel.
The Charism of the spirituality of the Focolare strongly embodies the spirit of Vatican II. When Pope John Paul II visited the Focolare headquarters in 1984, he ended his visit with these words: “I see that you follow authentically that vision of the Church, that auto-definition that the Church gave to itself in Vatican II.”