Once Pope Benedict finished relating his joy at the success of World Youth Day at Castel Gandolfo yesterday, he gave a few special words to the members of the Focolare movement on the occasion of the election of Maria Voce as their president. The Pontiff called on the movement to continue in the spiritual footsteps of their foundress Chiara Lubich.
According to Focolare’s website, the movement was founded in Trent, Italy, in 1943 by Chiara Lubich and a small group of friends. The group came to the realization that “God is the only ideal worth living for and as a result they focused their lives on the Gospel.”
On Friday, March 14, 2008, Chiara Lubich passed away at her home in Trent, Italy. The movement just recently elected Maria Voce as their new president, and Giancarlo Faletti as the co-president.
"As I express my happiness at the election of the new leaders," said Pope Benedict, "I encourage you all, dear brothers and sisters, to continue joyfully and courageously along the path of the spiritual heritage of Chiara Lubich, as enshrined in your Statues, increasing communion in families, in communities and in all areas of society."
The Holy Father also expressed his hope that people currently on holiday “may spend days of serenity and of beneficial physical and spiritual relaxation. However, I do not forget those who are unable to enjoy a period of rest and vacation: I am thinking of the sick in hospital and rest homes, of prisoners, of the elderly, of those who are alone, and of everyone who spends the summer in the heat of the city. To each of them I give assurances of my closeness and a mention in my prayers."