A picturesque valley setting with mountains all around welcomed all the people going up the Val di Lanzo to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Parish Movement.The event entitled 50 Years of Passion for the Church was held at the Maria Orsola Center, which was filled to capacity with people from the area. Among them were Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life; along with Giuseppe Petrocchi, the Archbishop of Aquila.

50 Years of Passion for the Church

In the message she sent them, Focolare president Maria Voce, mentioned how fifty years before, in Vallo, one of the first communities gathered with Archbishop Vincenzo Chiarle lived the Focolare’s spirituality of communion and bore “witness to an authentic lifestyle of the Gospel in the context of a parish, renewing spirits and structures.”

They were a model of a “living church,” according to Archbishop Petrocchi – small in size, but great in spirit and in service. An example of holiness came out from the community, the life of Maria Orsola, who passed away at 16, and is now on her way to official recognition as a model of holiness.

From the left, Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life; along with Giuseppe Petrocchi, the Archbishop of Aquila.; along with Giuseppe Petrocchi, the Archbishop of Aquila.; along with Giuseppe Petrocchi, the Archbishop of Aquila during the 50th Anniversary of the Focolare’s New Parish Movement in Vallo, Italy
From the left, Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life; along with Giuseppe Petrocchi, the Archbishop of Aquila.; along with Giuseppe Petrocchi, the Archbishop of Aquila.; along with Giuseppe Petrocchi, the Archbishop of Aquila during the 50th Anniversary of the Focolare’s New Parish Movement in Vallo, Italy

From the intuition of Focolare foundress Chiara Lubich going back to the late 1940 about what influence the spirituality of unity could have on parish communities, to the historic meeting with Paul VI in 1967, which marks its official beginnings, the history of the Parish Movement was retraced described by the first witnesses. Their commitment continues. Vallo remains a popular destination for groups of young people and communities because of the spirituality of communion being lived out there.

Today Vallo welcomes many communities from all the regions of Italy and the world beyond. Bruno and Luisa, a married couple from Genoa, Italy, shared their testimony of active involvement in close unity with their pastor. The experience of young Luca touched many. Thanks to the support of young people from his parish, he was able to transform the unexpected side effects of a road accident, into a rediscovery of prayer and of the precious value of life.

As Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia commented in his opening address, celebrating 50 years of life means going back to the roots, as well as to keep moving on towards new challenges.

Carla Cotignoli

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