Movement Dedicated to Unity at Work Trying to Foster Peace in Mideast
ROME, Italy – As Pope Francis is joined by Church leaders across the globe calling for peace and negotiation in Syria, the president of the Catholic Focolare movement was in Jordan, where she met with King Abdulla II.
“His Majesty welcomed us warmly, saying that he was honored by our visit,” Maria Voce reported. “He wanted to know how our work had gone on here in Jordan. [...] I was then able to inform him that we came from several countries, Christians and Muslims, all joined by the spirit of universal brotherhood.
“I thought it was important to highlight the fact that it was possible to hold a series of such meetings here in Jordan, precisely because of the spirit of openness and tolerance that characterizes this land.”
Ms. Voce and co-president Giancarlo Faletti were in Jordan Aug. 29 through Sept. 10, to meet with delegations of the movement of several nations of the Middle East and North Africa.
The charism of Focolare is to work for unity. Ms. Voce said that King Abdulla II "expressed his concern over the situation in the region, the great challenges, and he didn’t hide his concern for the Christian communities. But, above all, he told me that we had to face these crises and uncertainties together.”
Also on a visit to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis, the King was commended for his commitment to interreligious dialogue.
Ms. Voce said she told the King “of our joy at seeing him in the photograph with the Pope in the press. And he immediately stressed that it was one of the most beautiful visits that he has had in these years," she said. "Referring to the Pope, he said: ‘We felt that we were brothers.'"
Members of Focolare also joined with the Pope's Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Syria, which he called for on Sat., Sept. 7.
“The two words that impose themselves at this extremely dramatic and dangerous moment are ‘total commitment to answer to Pope Francis’ appeal for prayer and fasting while expressing gratitude to him for giving voice to the hearts of millions of people of all faiths from all over the world,’" Ms. Voce said from Amman.