Tag Archives: Focolare

Chiara Lubich’s cause for sainthood opened

Today, word was received that the Most Reverend Raffaello Martinelli, bishop of Frascati, opened the diocesan process for the cause of beatification for Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Opus Mariae (Work of Mary) – Focolare Movement. On 7 December 2013, the formal request was made by the current president of the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce, the direct successor to Chiara, to open the cause. The date of December 7th is significant because it was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Movement. At the time of the formal request to Bishop Martinelli, Voce said: “This act invites us all to a life of greater holiness, lived day by day to contribute towards collective sanctity, that sanctity of the people so dear to Chiara’s heart.”

Chiara Lubich died on 14 March 2008. The officials of the Focolare Movement estimate that more than 120.000 have visited the sites where she lived and where her mortal remains rest.

The Movement has one their members beatified (Luce Badano) and 12 others who have their causes being studied.

Maria Voce meets Francis and Focolare

Maria Voce with Pope Francis Sept 26 2014The head of the Roman Church, Pope Francis, met the head –and recently re-elected leader of the Focolare Movement Maria Voce– today at the Vatican. Dozens of people have been gathering these last weeks in Italy for a congress. The Holy Father met and address the Focolare members where he said, among other things,  “faithful to the charism from which it was born and by which it is nurtured, the Focolare Movement now finds itself faced with the same task that awaits the Church as a whole: offering, with responsibility and creativity, its special contribution to this new season of evangelization.”

Chiara Lubich, anniversary of death

Chiara LubichPrayers for the repose of the soul of Chiara Lubich who died on this date in 2008. Chiara was the founder of the Focolare Movement.
Chiara Lubich’s the formal request to open a cause for sainthood was made on 7 December 2013. When the announcement was made Maria Voce said, “This act invites us all to a life of greater holiness, lived day by day to contribute towards collective sanctity, that sanctity of the people so dear to Chiara’s heart.”
Maria Voce requested the opening of the cause of canonization of Chiara of Bishop Raffaello Martinelli, Bishop of Frascati. December 7th was also a significant date for the Focolare members as it was the  70th anniversary since the beginning of the Movement.

The Church’s tradition is to present to its faithful role models, persons who have distinguished themselves by a particular witness of faith and love for God. The current period of waiting following the death of a person is five years. Thereafter, if the opening is approved, a canonical process to verify the facts of a holy life, of heroic virtues,  and other signs needs to be studied.

12 members of the Focolare Movement are being studied for sainthood.

Blessed Chiara Badano

Luce BadanoA little known young blessed of our Church, Chiara “Luce” Badano, is gaining popularity. You may remember seeing her name among 18 people revered as saints and blesseds chosen by Pope Benedict as intercessors for the 2013 World Youth Day in Brazil. A commentator said, “she was chosen because Luce is a model of sainthood that is simple, and not someone spectacular.”

Known among family and friends as Luce, she died of bone cancer in 1990 at the age of 18.

Luce was a member of the Focolare movement since she 9 years old.

Pope Benedict XVI declared her “Blessed” in 2010 he said “Only Love with a capital L gives true happiness, and that’s what Blessed Badano showed her family, her friends and her fellow members of the Focolare movement.” When Cardinal Angelo Amato offered Mass at which Chiara was beatified  he spoke of her as having “a crystalline heart, like water from the source.”

Blessed Chiara Badano said, “What a free and immense gift life is and how important it is to live every instant in the fullness of God. I feel so little and the road ahead is so arduous that I often feel overwhelmed with pain! But that’s the Spouse coming to meet me. Yes, I repeat it: ‘If you want it Jesus, so do I.’”

Through the intercession of Blessed Chiara Luce Badano may we live more closely with Christ crucified and may we all, including those who follow Focolare, be blessed.

Farming, faith and eating well: initiatives

Brooklyn Grange Roof

Interest in growing fresh vegetables and farming is real life these days in many urban settings.There is significant concern for wellness issues like where is our food coming from and how is it raised. The impact of bad practices and careless behavior is taking a toll on people in a multiplicity of ways: poverty, hunger, cancer, mental illness, human sustainability, and the like.

City farming is the subject of this video report by Monocle. It provides some very interesting things to think about like, space, soil, nutrients, people, being co-creators, etc. The three reports given in the Monocle video look at innovative work in Japan, NYC and Norway. Watch the report. In the New Haven area there are some community gardens sprouting up, for example, Yale University has a community garden the Yale Farm (Edwards Street) and then there are lots of modest initiatives. Plus, the growing of farmers’ markets.

I have a modest garden with edibles and decoratives. But I can’t sustain a family on what I grow. I have learned to make pickles from homegrown cucumbers, and I will can tomatoes, but if I had other favorable factors I could do more. My grandparents would be proud since that’s how they managed to live.  What I have concluded is that life is much better with homegrown produce than what is purchased in big stores like Walmart and Big Y. Well, that’s for the spring and summer. Come the autumn and winter we have to go back to the store.

But this matter is a part of a larger question of faith and ecology. The biblical and sacramental life of the Church have something to say to us today. In my mind, Christians have to reclaim what it means to live well with with what God has given through a sacramental lens. For this reason, I am thinking more and more about the role the Benedictines can play in the development of a faith and ecology project. The Benedictine charism is one in which simplicity, faith, work, study, mutual obedience, concern for the other and co-creation with God are high values. Plus, the monastic life with its emphasis on moderation lived in communion with others is key. I would also include the ecclesial movements of Communion & Liberation and Focolare as key infrastructures of grace and holiness. With a few spare moments here-and-there I am trying to think about a Christian’s response to the matter of food, wellness, farming, and the like. People like Ken Myers (Mars Hill Audio Journal), Norman Wirzba (Duke Divinity School), Fred Bahnson (Wake Forest Divinity School) and Wendell Berry (public intellectual) along with Pope Benedict XVI are setting the stage for new things.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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