The second Vatican Council and the charisma at the service of unity
The international meeting “The second Vatican Council and Chiara Lubich’s charisma of unity: 1 / Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium” had been organized by the Sophia University Institute and the Chiara Lubich Center for the 100th anniversary of Chiara Lubich’s birth, the founder of the Focolare Movement. Then, due to the pandemic it had to be postponed twice. Today, it finally takes place in Florence on 11 March 2022 at the Theological Faculty of central Italy and on 12 March 2022 at Palazzo Vecchio, hall Sala dei Cinquecento. The meeting is sponsored by the municipality of Florence with the participation of the Italian Theological Association, the Theological Faculty of Central Italy, the Paolo VI Institute, the Giorgio La Pira International Student Center, Città Nuova, the Abbà School and clearly the Focolare Movement. The scientific committee is composed by Alessandro Clemenzia, Piero Coda, Florence Gillet, João Manoel Motta and Alba Sgariglia.
On 11 November 1965, Chiara Lubich was saying a significant prayer: «Oh! Holy Spirit, make us become, through what you have already suggested in the Council, a living Church: this is our only desire from which everything else will follow». With this spirit, on one hand, the meeting aims at understanding if and how the message of the Council can find a fruitful place of interpretation and development in the experience of the charisma of unity. On the other hand, it will evaluate if and how the flourishing of ecclesial life promoted by the charisma of unity was enhanced by the new horizon of the second Vatican Council. In this first stage, the focus is on Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium in order to develop convergence profiles and contributions of the doctrine of the council and the inspiration of the charisma of unity around the crucial connection according to which the Church is born, grows as historical incarnation of the Word that «became flesh» (John 1:14) in the breath of the Spirit.
The program of the meeting is particularly intense. During the first day, participants will listen to the speeches by Piero Coda, former rector of Sophia University Institute (“A chronological and kairological coincidence: a council and a charisma. For a theological discernment of the connection between Vatican II and the charisma of unity”), Paolo Siniscalco of the University La Sapienza in Rome (“Chiara Lubich at the time of Vatican II) and the theologian Severino Dianich (“The event of the Second Vatican Council; sacrament… of unity of mankind”).
The day after, Saturday, the meeting will move to the prestigious location of Palazzo Vecchio, in the hall Sala dei Cinquecento where the Focolare Movement has been holding its meetings since 1964. The current president of the Focolare Movement, Margaret Karram, will deliver the opening address. Then, Vincenzo Di Pilato (FTP) will talk about the Dei Verbum and deal with the topic “The alphabet to get to know Christ. The Word of God, permanent event of salvation in the Dei Verbum”. Florence Gillet, from the Chiara Lubich Center, will talk about “The Word of God in Chiara Lubich: living presence of Christ that generates the Church”. Then a round table will take place. The speakers will be Giovanna Porrino (IUS) about “The Word in the life of the Church”, Declan O’Byrne (IUS), “The Word and the Spirit”, Angelo Maffeis (FTIS) about “The Word of God as principle of unity and the Evangelical theologian Stefan Tobler (USBL) about “A mysticism of the Word as a path to ecumenism”.
After that, there will be a speech about “The Church and the Marian principle” by mons. Brendan Leahy (bishop of Limerick, Ireland). The following round table will include the speeches by Alessandro Clemenzia (FTIC / IUS), “The Church from Trinity”, Assunta Steccanella (FTT/TV), “The Messianic people”, Erio Castellucci, bishop of Modena-Nonantola and vice-president CEI, “Episcopal collegiality and synodality of the Church” and Cristina Dobner (discalced Carmelite), “Charismas in the mission of the Church”. Eventually, the theologian Yvonne Dohna Schlobitten of the Gregorian will talk about “An icon of the ecclesiology of Vatican II”.