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Rome Reports

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Focolar meeting unites thousands of young people from around the world in Manila

Around 6,000 young people in Focolar communities, from more than 100 countries, participated in Genfest 2018 in Manila. It was the 11th anniversary of this meeting to show that unity among people is possible.

There the young people share common ideas and good practices on how to live as brothers and sisters in areas such as economy, justice, politics, the environment and religion.

The meeting's format was very interesting because it combined work in groups with concerts and testimonies. For example, one of the testimonies was from Azeez, an Iraqi who now lives in France. He had lost his home, family and dreams.

“What did I learn from this experience? We have only one life on earth. We live only once. Through this experience I understood, that when I go to Paradise, Jesus won't say, 'You are Iraqui, you will enter Paradise.' 'You are French, you will enter...' No. He will ask me, 'Azeez, what have you done in your life?'”

The Genfest meeting ended with the president of the Focolar Movement. She challenged the people at the meeting to learn how to love, to start again after failing and to share their joys and sorrows. 

President, Focolar movement
“There is a secret that can help us not lose sight of this goal. Which here, at Genfest, seems so beautiful, real, fascinating. I'd like to sum it up in a few words: love, start again, share.”

The Focolar Movement was founded in 1943 by Chiara Lubich, who, after seeing the destruction of her city during World War II, decided to change the world with the Christian calling to treat everyone as brothers and sisters. This is the same message that also inspired this meeting of young people in Manila.