About the Focolare
The Focolare Movement was born in 1943 in Trent, Italy. Present in about 180 countries, the Focolare works to build fraternity among peoples, to promote peace, furthering dialogue among people, generations, varying social categories and the world religions. It is an institution of the Catholic Church, recognized as the Work of Mary by the Holy See since 1964. Today Christians from various denominations, members of the major world religions and persons without any religious affiliation take part in the Focolare and they seek to live for unity in diversity.
The Focolare arrived in the Holy Land in 1977 and, with its presence in Israel and Palestine for the past 40 years, has been working in a variety of ways:
- in spiritual formation of local Christians – families, young adults, teenagers, children – especially through going into depth in the Word of God and through the sharing of the experiences as well as the fruits of putting the Word of God into practice;
- in promoting ecumenical initiatives and participating in ecumenical activities organized by the various local Churches;
- in furthering the meeting and dialogue among individuals and groups of Christians, Jews and Muslims through visits, participating in one another’s celebrations, recreational and social activities for youth and adults, sports activities for boys and girls, organization of cultural events, shared study of Sacred Scripture (Christians and Jews), shared moments of prayer for peace;
- in welcoming of pilgrims and in the organization of meetings of groups of pilgrims with local Christians and with Jews and Muslims committed to overcoming divisions and to the building of a more fraternal society.
Chiara Lubich (1920-2008) was foundress of the Focolare and she was conferred the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education, received various honorary citizenships and awards as well as 15 honorary doctorates in a variety of academic disciplines.
The desire of
Already in 1956, Chiara Lubich had the opportunity to come to Jerusalem. She visited the site of the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (in the area of Mt. Zion), which a tradition links to the moment following the Last Supper in which Jesus asks the Father “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). Chiara expressed the desire to one day have a center there, given that the specific goal of the Focolare is precisely to contribute to the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for unity.
A few years later, the Assumptionist Fathers (Congregation of the Augustinians of the Assumption), owners of the St. Peter in Gallicantu site, were interested in selling part of their land.
In 1989, after having obtained the favorable opinions of the Latin Patriarch and of the Apostolic Delegate of Jerusalem, the Holy See gave the consent for the purchase of the parcel (8,918 sq. m). In November 2003, the signing of the agreement for the definitive transfer of land to the Focolare took place.