Category Archives: Iniziative locali

Immersion in the Spirit

Immersion in the Spirit

Empowering Europe

On the weekend of 10-12 June 2022, Empowering Europe (//empoweringeurope.org) organized a long-awaited in presence meeting for its members after the Corona pandemic.

For this meeting, the young Movement (founded in 2018) chose the Conference Centre of the Focolare Movement in the Netherlands (//www.focolare.org/nederland/).

The days were marked by a deep encounter with God and with each other. The friendship of the two Movements, which are both involved in together4europe, also left its mark on the meeting.

“We were able to look into the heart of Jesus”, said one of the participants at the end. And another one: “It was an immersion in the Spirit of God. We go back to our everyday lives strengthened and refreshed.”

Beatriz Lauenroth

7 May in Brussels

7 May in Brussels

An unforgettable experience

On May 7, 2022, we celebrated Europe Day at the Chapel of Europe in Brussels, where we found a lot of support: besides the use of the premises, they put at our disposal their means of communication. A God-sent providence!

The event was entitled “Europe: builders of peace”, and we prepared for it for months with great enthusiasm, commitment and conviction. Those Movements that could not collaborate concretely with us were close to us with their prayers and unity. What a challenge! Speaking of “builders of peace” in a Europe torn apart by war in Ukraine and where there are constant references to division, separation, etc; and yet we believe that our drop of water is necessary in the ocean. The program was followed in presence and through a webinar.

The two contributions by Walter e Annemarie Kriechbaum of the Munich YMCA were the fulcrum of the afternoon. Through their lived-out experiences they led us into a world of reconciliation. The journey toward reconciliation is long, but one that lasts, and this instilled in us the desire to be instruments of reconciliation wherever we live.

During the days prior to May 7, we had the opportunity to share and hold dialogues with the Kriechbaum couple at the Focolare Centre in Rotselaar; likewise, we met the St Egidio Community in Brussels and we also held a prayer meeting in the Basilica with members of the Renewal in the Spirit Movement. These were unforgettable moments of mutual listening: a really vital learning curve.

The conversations with the friendship cup, which concluded the May 7 meeting, gave us the opportunity to establish new contacts, to meet once again old friends and to encourage one another. We were strengthened with the certainly that, with the help of the Holy Spirit in our midst, we will be able to leave a significant impact upon our Continent and reveal its true values.

Some feedbacks:

“Yesterday I took part in the webinar. Congratulations to the whole group and to you personally. It was wonderful to see you in action. We are very grateful for the contents and the prayers. We found the experiences of Annemarie and Walter to be clear and impressive. Walter’s biblical foundation regarding the meaning of Jesus’ sufferings, death on the cross and resurrection in relation to forgiveness and reconciliation was very central. We hope that many Belgians have followed it, or will do so in the coming weeks. Thank you for all the work invested in the preparation.” (R.R.)

“Many thanks for this extremely rich meeting! As Philippe said, it was a grace-filled moment, that provided support, hope and a new energy! We want to keep on journeying with you! It was nice seeing you! Can we have the link to watch it again on YouTube?” (M.D.W.)

Anne Plancke, for the Belgian Committee of Together for Europe

Photo: pixabay.com

How to overcome divisions

How to overcome divisions

Meeting in Graz to mark the Europe Day, May 7, 2022

The venue was a recently refurbished hall that previously was the refectory of the Franciscan Friar Minors. Now it is the baroque heart of a modern conference Centre in the city centre of Graz. The date was May 7, 2022 and the participants were members of Christian communities from diverse denominations. The purpose was to mark Europe Day and it was organized by Together for Europe.

There were about 130 participants and these came from various places in Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Switzerland. They came together to listen to the Word of God and to share lived-out experiences related to the topic of the conference: “How to overcome divisions”.

The various inputs included:

  • A dialogue project in Hungary to deal with controversial political opinions;
  • Building trust between refugees and those opposed to their presence;
  • Reconciliation of families of victims and executioners 75 years after the Holocaust;

Needless to say, all participants were struck by these and they created the right atmosphere for a lively exchange of ideas in small-group meetings.

The leaders of the Catholic and Protestant Churches, together with those of the Baptist community, had words of encouragement. Friends from Slovakia, Slovenia and Italy who could not be present due to their commitment with refugees, or for health and other reasons, sent their greetings.

After a shared lunch and a guided visit of the city, the afternoon was dedicated to an ecumenical prayer for peace.

All the present difficulties, like the war in Ukraine and in many other parts of the world, the climate crisis, the Covic-19 pandemic, the economic uncertainty… were presented to God. This touching intercession prayer was organized by a family from the Schönstatt Movement.

The participants felt strengthened to fulfil their task in the Church and society by the words from the Letter to the Hebrews: “May the God of peace… equip you with every good thing to do His will” (Hb 13, 20-21).

The meeting was enhanced by the contribution of accomplished musicians who injected the event with a festive and spiritual atmosphere. The participants responded very generously toward a project to help Ukrainian refugees being hosted near the Hungarian border.

In the background of the hall there was an expressive painting of “Jesus feeding the five thousand”, a fitting reminder. The day, which was full of enriching encounters, came to a close with the hymn: “Stay with us Lord, because evening is fast approaching. Stay with us Lord, because it’s getting dark. Stay with us Lord”. 

Michael Murg, TfE Graz

Photo: privat

Education, our only possibility

Education, our only possibility

2022 Europe Day in Italy – Videoconference regarding good practices in education offered by young people from diverse Movements.

This year, Europe Day chose to underline a topic which could seem out of order seeing that there is a war raging in Europe.Together for Europe in Italy highlighted the centrality of an education that offers young generations an integral formation, one that is meant as the only possibility to reconstruct fraternal relationships, to provide a formation for peace and to seek truths that give meaning to life.

This was expounded by Prof Carina Rossa, lecturer at Lumsa and at the University Institute Sophia; she is also a member of the Committee that promotes the Global Compact on Education, the global educative Pact launched by Pope Francis in 2019. It is a Pact that aims to do away with barriers and build bridges.

The EU has declared this year to be the “Year of Young People”, and indeed it was young people belonging to various groups, Associations and Movements that presented good practices in education that were carried out in diverse fields (the text can be found in the site archive).

Many shared their impressions in the chat during the link-up via zoom which was being followed live by more than 1,000 persons. Another 700, from Eastern and Western Europe, saw the recorded conference during the following week. Here are some of these impressions:

“I really appreciated the witnessing and the input by young and not so young persons. I was very struck by Beatriz’s lived-out experience and her message of welcoming and love (regarding the Ukrainian refugees).  It was an initiative full of enriching contributions”. (An MEP from Milan)

“The first thing that comes to mind is the choir of voices that, albeit with different tones, witnessed to the power of hope. The next thing is the beauty of young people, something quite illuminating. Indeed, young people are our hope, especially with that initiative that sees them close to older persons, where it becomes hard to distinguish between who is donating and who is receiving. I was really struck by the fact that young and old persons need each other. The last lived-out experience that was shared was the one that filled my heart, saddened with the war, with some peace”. (From Sanremo)

“The sharing was edifying. There was a lot of creativity! We were not given only hope, but also the certainty that a supportive Europe, made up of united hearts, already exists”. (From Munich)

Carla Cotignoli and Beatriz Lauenroth

Photo: Trento Archive

2022 05 08 Education, Our Only Possibility Italy EN DEF (137.5 KB, 5 downloads)
Glimpses

Glimpses

May 9, 2022: a European expression

Once again, this year many original initiatives were organized to mark May 9, Europe Day. The following are just glimpses of some of them.

A trans-borders meeting was held in France and Germany. From Strasbourg (France) the one-hour walk under the banner ‘For a peaceful Europe’ ended at the Church of Peace in Kehl (Germany). At the end of the event, one of the 200 participants stated: “This day will be remembered for a long time. Together we offered a sign of unity and celebrated hope for all Europe”.

The EU declared 2022 as the European Year of Youth. Thus, Together for Europe in Italy focused on “Education” to mark May 9. The online sharing of experiences between young and old persons clearly showed that there exists a mutual dependence between the two for a happy and successful life. The meeting was followed by about 1,800 persons.

About 300 persons from Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Switzerland met in Graz (Austria). Friends from Slovakia, Slovenia and Italy sent their greetings. The meeting reach its climax in the afternoons with a common prayer for peace. The participants then responded generously to the appeal for donations in favour of a project to support Ukrainian refugees near the border with Hungary.

In Munich (Bavaria), Together for Europe went up a panoramic wheel. The gondolas performed numerous rotations, always with eight persons on board – who held a conversation and a meeting at high altitude!

Beatriz Lauenroth

 

 

Madeira together for peace

Madeira together for peace

The network Together for Europe, on Madeira Island, is promoting the rosary prayer for peace in Ukraine, on 8 May, at 8 pm (UTC +1), next to the monument dedicated to Our Lady of Peace, in the “Luta Livre”.

 

France: a cross-border march and the “7 Yeses”

France: a cross-border march and the “7 Yeses”

On 8 May a cross-border march from Strasbourg to Kehl

On Sunday 8 May 2022, a peace march by foot will start in Strasbourg, leading from Alsace (France) to Germany. “We want to give courage and hope to the people of Europe”.  So declares the National Committee of the Together for Europe, France. “Against the background of the many wars, we want to use our own history to remind people that reconciliation is possible.”

The march starts at 5 pm in Strasbourg and ends after 1.5 km in the Friedenskirche in Kehl with an ecumenical prayer. After the prayer – by offering a drink – there will be some more possibility for all participants to meet each other.

Europe Day in Lyon, Monday 9 May 2022

An evening of testimonies and prayers around the 7 ‘YES’ to Europe will take place.

 

Belgium – Italy – Germany

Belgium – Italy – Germany

Activities to mark the 2022 Europe Day

BELGIUM: “Europe: Artisans of Peace…”

This is the theme that Together for Europe chose to celebrate Europe Day with persons that will gather in the Chapel for Europe in Brussels on May 7, at 2 p.m. There will also be the possibility to follow proceedings online.
Movements that adhere to our network have produced short videos that present four initiatives of solidarity.
Pastor Walter Kriechbaum of Munich, Bavaria and his wife Annemarie of the International Association YMCA will share with us their experiences of reconciliation in Germany, Poland, and Ukraine that were aimed to heal wounds caused by World War Two. These will be followed by a brief reflection based on Scripture and faith in Christ and a moment of prayer.
An online webinar will allow participants to offer their input during a sharing session that will follow.

ITALY: “Education: our only possibility”

In Italy, the 2022 Feast of Europe will be celebrated with a video conference on May 8 at 6.30 p.m.
First of all Dr Carina Rossa will give a keynote speech regarding the “Global impact on education” which Pope Francis proposed to the entire education reality in the world. This will be followed by a series of ‘good practices’ of informal education that are being carried out by young people belonging of several Movements in various regions of Italy and Croatia. The last item will be a witnessing that shows the influence that the principles of Together for Europe exert when holding a dialogue with any type of diversity and when striving for reconciliation in situations of conflict.

The link to follow the event is:  //www.youtube.com/FocolariRoma/live

GERMANY: “Meeting and praying in Europe on Zoom”

Following the prayer meeting we held on March 2, we are once again inviting persons in Germany and Europe to join us for an intense prayer on May 10 at 7.30 p.m. This will be conducted in two languages (German and English); it will go on for about 90 minutes.

 

 

Europe Day – Encounter in Graz

Europe Day – Encounter in Graz

Together for Europe – culture of reciprocity

Since 1999 has grown Together for Europe, an initiative of already more than 300 Christian communities  of different Churches. It is a network which is engaged in shared goals where the charism of each community comes into play. It´s „culture of reciprocity“ contains that individuals and peoples get to know and appreciate each other, become reconciled and support each other.

Saturday, 7 May 2022, 9 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.
Minoritensaal, Mariahilferplatz 3, 8020 Graz, Austria

Free parking: Access via Volksgartenstraße-Afritschgasse

Admission: voluntary donation (approx. € 25 for food and conference fee)

The event will be held in German, translations will be provided.

Programme:

9:00 am Arrival
9:30 am Welcome and spiritual impulse
10:15 am Ways out of divisiveness
Exchange of experiences with participants from Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Austria, …
12:00 Lunch break
13:30 Small city tour (optional)
15.00 Attunement to the prayer for peace
15:30  to 16:30 Prayer for Peace in the Cloister of Minorite Monastery

Registration for the event
anm.gramfe@gmx.at until Monday, 2. 5. 2022
with surname, first name, language/s, place of residence, country

Overnight reservation (if required)
office@bhs-exerzitienhaus.at, Ms Anna Gigl
Exerzitienhaus der Barmherzigen Schwestern, Mariengasse 6a, 8020 Graz
(Near the main station, 15 minutes walk to the Minorite Monastery)

COVID-19 measures according to the current regulations, in any case negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or daily negative antigen test.

Organiser: Together for Europe – Austria  together4europe.org/Österreich

With the kind support of the Diocese of Graz-Seckau

 

Fundamentally changed

Fundamentally changed

The character of the Church 3.0  

 “The character of the Church 3.0, and thus even the character of our 200-strong meeting, has completely changed once Ukraine was attacked. All nice thoughts were swept away; at Baar we became aware that this is not a time for nice and important words. Rather, it is a time in which the people of God, and therefore even the Church, ought to gather in prayer. Reunited once again. Existentially reunited. And the prayers need to go beyond all boundaries.

Some days ago, during the prayer session that involved more than a thousand persons, we promised to “keep on praying”. And this is what we are doing: last week Austria continued to pray, and now it is us in Switzerland that came together to pray. Whenever Communities and Movements come together, there is a lot of power…

Undauntedly, all political meetings are important and necessary. However, as our Ukrainian brothers and sisters recently prayed, also beseeching the transformation of hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, go hand in hand. It moves side by side and it helps.

A praying and communitarian Church

We became aware that the Church 3.0 is a Church that prays. It is a communitarian Church because it prays of behalf of others, and its vitality comes from the charisms and not from numbers and structure. It is a wounded Church, and for this reason she relies upon God’s compassion – and not only for herself.

Therefore we prayed, and we experienced something of the new form of the Church. There was a feeling of a new beginning. We were conscious that in our prayer, words and actions, we were journeying with and Ukrainian brothers and sisters. In our prayers we included our confusion, fear and lack of words. Something will grow out of the ashes.

Right now, let there be peace: just peace and the possibility to protect persons. It’s quite sad to see persons being used as power pawns. And it is even sadder when their life is taken away for this reason. We hope that the power that we felt here during our meeting may bring about peace and life in the world”.

See in the document archive: “Being Christians in a post-Church society” (official report of the Swiss working group)

Source: miteinander-wie-sonst.ch

Photo: Fokolar-Bewegung Schweiz; Dialoghotel Eckstein

 

Step by Step – Encounter by Encounter

Step by Step – Encounter by Encounter

The coming together of groups and charisms stimulates a new form of Church

Something great, beautiful, undiscovered lies in every charismatic break-up. The initiative group of German-speaking Schoenstatters of Together for Europe became aware of this during the weekend of February 19-20, 2022, in Augsburg and Munich. They dared to knock on doors and entered into encounters with generations and charisms.

On Friday afternoon we met in the Prayer-House in Augsburg. The prayer room on the second floor is flooded with light and bright, centered towards a small wooden cross hanging from the ceiling in front of a white background. In the front, the band with well-chosen voices is singing antiphons of the first two verses of Psalm 50 and their alternate singing moves into a deepening conversation about these Bible verses – enlightening and leading to inner worship.

On Saturday afternoon we were at the Schoenstatt Centre in Munich. 4 young adults from YMCA Munich and the Focolare Movement came along with experienced people from the same movements, who discovered their life’s theme in Together for Europe.

Our goals: We pay attention to the intuition of the young adults present / We meet different generations and charisms / We share faithful interpretations of our encounter. Our finding: Together for Europe is a promise that allows us to discover a new design of Church. Each of these movements is a light inflamed by the Holy Spirit. If they step up to each other, an undiscovered land becomes visible, a Church that builds itself from churches, step by step, encounter by encounter.

On Sunday, in the rooms and during the church service of the Christian church “Vineyard Munich”, we witnessed people telling their stories of how God is acting concretely in their lives. How beautiful to know that every Sunday Christians are getting in contact with the God of life.

The pact of mutual love can be concretized in reaching out to groups and charisms that are strange to us, who are searching for God in their lives. The pact can be of central help in jointly grasping a new form of Church.

P. Hans-Martin Samietz

Photo: Gebetshaus.org / schoenstatt-muenchen.de

Cultivating the culture of the encounter

Cultivating the culture of the encounter

The annual meeting of the Friends of Together for Europe (TfE) 2022 will be held in Porto, Portugal  

The meeting of the Friends of TfE will be held on 10 – 12 November 2022 in Portugal. The Portuguese Friends invite the Friends from 45 movements that adhere to TfE to visit their most beautiful city of Porto, an architectural jewel, through which the river Douro (Golden) flows between the mountains and the Atlantic.

The Country outlining the Western boundaries of Europe is ready to open its heart and doors to welcome the participants of the Congress. Clotilde, a member of the Schönstatt Movement stated: “We want to promote dialogue with the aim of discovering how we, together, can re-affirm solidarity and brotherhood between all nations. And in order to know each other better we will together have a look at the history and culture of our Country”.

Why, of all places, have we chosen Porto? A smiling Ana Lúcia of the Emmanuel Community explained: “Tourists associate Porto with the famous wine Port. In 1996, Porto was the World Heritage Capital. It’s the city with many bridges, and these symbolize the links between various Countries”.

More than anything else – and this has a special interest to the Friends of TfE – there we find an ecumenical environment. “In Porto there are seven Churches (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lusitanian, Methodist, Lutheran, Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox) that are committed to the ecumenical dialogue”. There are also contacts with the Taizé Community. “Therefore, there’s no better place to build and experience unity”, as José António e Maria Eugénia of the Focolare Movement underlined.

What values can we share there? Maria da Conceição of the Cursillos Movement affirms: “For example we can offer the rest of Europe an experience of a community in which one finds spontaneous closeness and mutual help, inspired by the Gospel”. The family is the optimal place where faith is handed down. During the November meeting there will be the possibility of meeting representatives of the younger generations and hold an in-depth exchange of ideas on how they face today’s challenges, for example, migration, ecology, etc, based on their faith.

Liliana (Verbum Dei) e Filomena (Theresian Institution) expressed the common desire: “We would like the November meeting to give us the possibility to cultivate with our friends the culture of the encounter, something close to the ideals of TfE. We would like to become ever more “’builders of hope’, as Gerhard Pross put in November 2021. Our challenges may be summed up as “reconciled diversity” (Margaret Karram)”.

Porto will surely be a step forward.

Beatriz Lauenroth

 

 

Dreams and visions

Dreams and visions

This is what the students of a Roman college had to say regarding the future of the Continent: active citizenship in Europe starts with education!

That’s quite true, and easily shown through facts! “Your elders shall have dreams, and your young people shall have visions” (Joel 3,1). When teachers offer stimuli, present ideals and reveal prospectives, young people are able to respond with enthusiasm, perspicacity and creativity. This is the case of the students of the Augusto College in Rome and their teacher Maria Paola Aloi (who supports Together for Europe).

While involved in a project regarding active citizenship in the European Union, they have identified and carefully analyzed several hot issues with the aim of putting forward solutions. Listening to a piece of classical music, the young people saw in it the metaphor of harmony in diversity in a European context, which is a shared symphony. Through a play about a girl on a boat moving toward the unknown, they censured the on-going terrible tragedies on our seas.

While delving into the myth of Europe, they recognized the roots of a culture that, in its DNA, has hospitality and the welcoming of those travelling or migrating. Using an imaginary videogame entitled ‘The Game’, they facilitated a reflection about the migrants moving along the Baltic Route. They have shown great clearness of mind when they wrote a fictitious letter to David M. Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament, in which they outlined a strategic plan regarding the ‘humanitarian corridor’ based on: Prevention, Rescue, and Welcome.

These initiatives were among those held in other colleges on May 10 to celebrate the Feast of Europe. Then they were shared on June 3 during a meeting on the platform Meet; taking part were members of the Italian network of Together for Europe (8 Italian cities; 6 Movements that adhere to Together for Europe). Irene Loffredo (Focolare), a young woman from Pozzuoli (Naples), spoke on behalf of a group that provides voluntary service at a local prison. The group is made up of members of diverse Movements and Churches. Their endeavour brought about enhanced humanization and changes. Aldo Bernabei (Followers of St Catherine) expounded the plans of the EU regarding the Erasmus project and the European Corps of Solidarity: the latter will see about 270,000 young people involved in activities of solidarity in the next few years.

We now hope to be able to propose this initiative to schools in other cities; we intend to contact teachers and to propose twinning of classes. Moreover, we will offer the help of those involved in this experience.

The European Offices in Milan and Rome were informed about this initiative. They jointly expressed their congratulations for the great commitment and care shown in the various projects that were carried out.

Dolores Librale and Ada Maria Guazzo

Photo: Pixabay

Knowing each other to enhance mutual love

Knowing each other to enhance mutual love

Europe Day 2021 – an online journey

Empathy, contemplation and action, ‘ora et labora’: these were but some of the key words that marked Europe Day 2021, which this year was organized by about 40 Christian Movements of the ecumenical network Together for Europe.

EUROPE NEEDS COHESION, HOPE AND INSPIRATION

During the video link-up on May 9, Europe Day, Luigino Bruni, professor of Political Economy at LUMSA (Rome), stated that “In order to build and safeguard Europe we need to celebrate its feasts!” The topic of the video link-up was “For the earth and humanity”; about 1000 persons in Italy took part. He emphasized that from time immemorial feasts have been signs of a common identity.  In this time of pandemic, Europe needs more than ever before to be united, to hope and to be open to inspirations. He also underlined: “Many times I have been inspired by Together for Europe… which is one of the most important and prophetic inspirations of the New Millennium”.

Click here to watch the event>>

DIALOGUE – THE READINESS TO WELCOME THE OTHER

About 200 European citizens from Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria were connected to Graz for a ZOOM meeting. Dr. Petra Steinmair-Pösel, Professor at the Innsbruck (Austria) University, spoke about the importance of dialogue for Europe. She insisted that dialogue is neither a discussion nor a debate, but the readiness to welcome the other. “Dialogue brings us together. From us [Christians] humanity expects compassion and solutions for the problems linked to migration, the ecology and the crisis of meaning”. From where do we start? “From each one of us: by listening and respecting the others who are different from me and, above all, to learn from them”. Click here to download the complete text>> 20210507 TfE Graz_Text Steinmair-Pösl

EUROPEANS OUGHT TO SHOW MORE SELF-ESTEEM

In France, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, president of the Robert Schumann Foundation, urged all Europeans to enhance their self esteem. He wanted to inject optimism and enthusiasm: “Europe cannot be built in a jiffy. Together, however we are strong. We have the same currency, the same common market and we are all committed to safeguard our environment. Our health system is good”.

Click here for the complete recording>>

A DIALOGUE BASED ON THE ENCYCLICAL ‘FRATELLI TUTTI’

Together for Europe in Belgium invited the bishop of Liege, Mgr Delville, and the Flemish member of the European Parliament, Cindy Franssen, for a meeting at the “Chapel for Europe”. The lively dialogue was centred on Pope Francis’ social encyclical ‘Fratelli tutti’. They both underlined the importance of a new creativity: one that is contemplative and, at the same time, active.  While presenting their project #sauvonsnosaines the St Egidio youths exclaimed: “ça suffit ! Il est temps de changer !” Especially during this time of pandemic they want to provide a voice and support to the older generation.

Click here to watch the event>>

EUROPE – HOME FOR THE DIGITAL NOMANDS OF THE Y GENERATION

The young adults of Together for Europe, too, marked the May 9 Feast. In sharing the concrete actions they undertook in their respective Countries and Movements, they have shown their professional approach in various spheres of society: law (Germany), ecology (Italy, Austria), politics (Belgium, France), care of the aged (Belgium), help to refugees and social misfits (Netherlands, Greece, Germany). ‘Generation Y’ came about at the end of the last century; they consider Europe as their home, in which they can freely roam about with a computer under their arm – the so-called ‘digital nomads’. A young Dutch man said: “In Europe we have the possibility of knowing each other well and to be together, even if we are far from each other. This is important, because one can only love what one knows”.

The 2021 Feast of Europe found the support of the prayers of many. The young people met for an hour: “My Europe – We pray for Europe”. In the Czech Republic, the Schoenstatt Movement, the St Egidio Community and the Focolare Movement held a prayer novena in preparation for May 9. In Switzerland, too, where May 9 has no special significance, Christians belonging to various Movements have organized a prayer evening to ask God for strength and mercy in this difficult time of a global pandemic. Also, an ecumenical prayer service based on the ‘7 Yeses’ was held at the Gospel House in Klagenfurt (Austria).

Beatriz Lauenroth

Photo: Ursula Haaf (©Together for Europe)

A strong sign of hope during the Pandemic

A strong sign of hope during the Pandemic

Toward Europe Day 2021

Together for Europe (TfE) will hold various events between May 7 and 9. Jurists, theologians and MEP’s, together with students and adults from various faculties will discuss the present situation of our Continent, while suggesting concrete solutions for the problems that the world is presently facing.

Between May 7 and 9, more than 50 Christian Communities and Movement will share their initiatives in favour of their brothers and sisters in need: by enhancing awareness through discussions, prayer links across Europe, as well as concrete actions such as those regarding the environment (for example, rubbish collection to protect the environment). Indeed, as a member of the preparatory group in Belgium put it: “We want to show the beauty of the Christian message in a concrete way!”

In short video clips young people and young adults of diverse Movements, Communities and from different countries, gif their vision of Europe: “My Europe”>> and on 9 May they will come together for prayer>>. Moreover, in a webinar young people explored the Christian roots of ‘taking care’>>

TfE in Italy>> will hold an interesting online symposium: “For the Earth and Humanity”.

The Austrian group, from Graz>>, will link up with Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Italy to favour a better acquaintance by holding a deep “conversation that unites us all”.

In the “Chapel for Europe”, Brussels>>, 13 Christian Movements of TfE will offer a common reflection regarding the political and ecclesial spheres.

The conference in France>> will be addressed by the President of the Robert Schuman Foundation.

Young people and adults will gather to discuss various topics: in the Netherlands >>,  Germany>>Czech Republic>> and Switzerland.

Collected by Beatriz Lauenroth

Who cares!

Who cares!

The response of European young people

A webinar during the United World Week will explore the Christian roots needed for one to “care”. Those taking part: Canon John McLuckie, of the Scottish Episcopalian Church and 14 young people belonging to 4 different Communities and coming from 7 different European countries.

On Facebook I read that a housewife, seeing the tragic situation in hospitals due to the pandemic, decided to make cakes for the doctors and nurses. Now, several thousand persons and associations have joined in and are covering more than 40 hospitals, thus creating a true network in various cities of the Country.  This is what happens when a person, responding to an appeal by a first aid department, started to do something! And this is then taken up by others who are willing to join in. At the end of the day, everyone is happy, those who received as well as those who donated!

Today our calendar is full of feast days that remind us of some event, or the common good of a Country or a Continent or of the entire planet. Theses have become a cultural legacy of whole populations thanks to the initiative of a person, or a group, a Church or an Association.

Even May 9, Feast of Europe is one of these, as well as the United World Week, which was started by the young people of the Focolare Movement to make many others aware of the need for peace and brotherhood among peoples.

This year, between May 1 and 9, various events can be followed on the website of “United World Project”>>. Among these there is an event in which even Together for Europe was involved in its preparation. In what way? We asked young people what they would like to say to other young people, what lived-out experiences they can offer as “care” of the others – since the slogan of the Week is #daretocareWhen one listens and sees these young people expressing their ideals, hope in the future is rekindled.

Am you still young – or, were you once a young person? Then you can ask yourself: what can I do, here and now, for the others? Those who understand English are invited to click on //bit.ly/whocares8may, and there they may find a  vaccine dose… not against Covic19, however.

Ilona Toth

Download the flyer

Who Cares 8 May Invite Link (199.8 KB, 95 downloads)
The Czech Republic prays

The Czech Republic prays

On the occasion of Europe Day, the New Movements and Communities of the Czech Republic pray, together, for Europe

This is a novena that is being held

between April 29 and May 7

Persons are invited to join in at 9 p.m. via ZOOM and pray together for Europe.

This initiative is the fruit of the collaboration and communion between the Schoenstatt Movement, the St Egidio Community and the Focolare Movement present in the Czech Republic.

On Saturday May 8, from 9 till 11 a.m., the Czech Republic and six other nations – Croatia, Italy Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary- will link up with Graz (Austria) for a common feast of Europe.

The local group of Together for Europe

 

Europe: reasons to hope

Europe: reasons to hope

On the eve of the launching of the “Conference on the future of Europe”, the Christian Associations and Movements of the network Together for Europe, have organized an online conference with Jean-Dominique Giuliani, President of the Robert Schuman Foundation. The topic is:

Europe: what makes us hope?”

Thursday May 6, 2021, 7 p.m.  – 8.30 p.m.

 The Christians are conscious of the importance that the work started in 1950 with the “Schuman Declaration” ought to be continued; to this end they want to make their voice heard in this great debate that will continue till May 2022.

The conference of Mr Giuliani, together with Gérard Testard (French, and member of the International Steering Committee of Together for Europe), will allow us to discern the resources available to Europe in a rapidly changing world, where only a joint response may efficaciously tackle the economic, ecological and health crisis.

Information/Registration: Ensemble pour l’Europe France

Leaflet (in French) can be downloaded from here:

Affiche Europe 2021 - Conférence Online - Avec Liens (521.1 KB, 78 downloads)

Press release (in French) can be downloaded from here:

6 Mai 2021 J D Giuliani Conférence Online Communiqué (627.7 KB, 80 downloads)

Together for Europe, France

 

An event in the Chapel for Europe

An event in the Chapel for Europe

To mark Europe Day, various Movements of Together for Europe are preparing an event that will be held in the Chapel for Europe, Brussels, on May 8, 2021, from 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Here you can watch the event again on youtube: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=01tvdG6uB7c

Here you can find the texts in French>>  and Dutch>> 

The theme will be “Unity and Reconciliation”.

The programme includes a contribution by Mgr Delville, Bishop of Liège, and another by Cindy Franssen, a Belgian MEP. They will take an in-depth look at some aspects of Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Fratelli tutti.

Several Communities and Movements will present various initiatives, especially those in favour of our Belgian needy brothers and sisters. “We want to highlight the beauty of the Christian message!”: this is how a member of the preparatory put it.

The third part will be spent in prayer.

Beatriz Lauenroth

Photo: Wikipedia, author: ©Fabre

May 8 Graz – time to dialogue

Once again, Covid-19 is preventing the holding of the ‘Meeting in Graz’ on the occasion of the 2021 Europe Day. Nevertheless, a Zoom meeting will cater for the manifold friendships:

Saturday, May 8, 2021, from 9 till 11 a.m. from Graz

With participants and contributions from Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia 

(with simultaneous translations in the national languages and English)

 

Topic: “A conversation that brings us all together” (Laudato si14). DIALOGUE

Guest speaker: Dr. Petra Steinmair-Pösel

Ecumenical prayer with Bishop Dr. Wilhelm Krautwaschl, the superintendent Mag. Wolfgang Rehner, and Pastor Bruno Gasper

This is being organised by the Styria Team of Together for Europe

Bookings at Elfriede Palt: elfi.palt@gmx.net  stating name and surname, language and respective Community/Movement

You can download the invitation in the diverse versions from here:

Zoom Meeting Europe Day 2021 From Graz (323.0 KB, 98 downloads)
Programm Zoom Meeting Da Graz 2021 05 08 (260.7 KB, 83 downloads)
Programm Zoom Meeting Da Graz 2021 05 08 Long (295.2 KB, 90 downloads)

 

Italy in action

Italy in action

For the Earth and for Mankind

WE HAVE ORGANISED AGAIN THIS YEAR A ‘MEETING’ FOR THE WHOLE OF ITALY, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM VARIOUS GROUPS – FROM ROME, TRENT, MILAN, PALERMO, AND OTHERS.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO REVIEW THE EVENT (VIDEOCONFERENCE) ON YOUTUBE: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5W0OfgJ0LY

  • Key note speech by Luigino Bruni, Professor of political economy at LUMSA, Rome: “From an integral ecology toward an economy of solidarity”
  • Contributors: Jonut Radu (Romanian Orthodox), Mgr Marco Gnavi, Pastor Luca Maria Negro
  • Lived out experiences regarding “For the Earth and for Mankind’

Giuseppe Del Coiro on behalf of the Italian National Team

The leaflet (in Italian) with the details of how to join in can be downloaded from here:

Flyer Italy ED 2021

Festa Europa 9 Maggio 2021 ITALIA (187.6 KB, 70 downloads)

Being at the service of persons through law

TOGETHER IN THE REGION OF STUTTGARD

Meetings for the region – getting to know each other – prayers for Europe

Online: Friday May 7, 2021, at 7.30 p.m.

 

Flyer Stuttgart ED 2021

You can download the leaflet (in German) which carries further details and where to apply here:

2021-03-15 Flyer MfE Stuttgart (3.4 MB, 92 downloads)

9th of May in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands on 9th of May we will attempt to answer the following questions during a video conference:

Why was Europe Day initiated?
Where is Europe’s heart?
What is Europe’s current need?

 

We will tackle these topics amongst others. We will be joined by Jeff Fountain professor from the Schuman Centre for European Studies in Amsterdam.

To register please write to beatriz.lauenroth@together4europe.org

Beatriz Lauenroth, Dutch MfE Team

Some French Initiatives

Some French Initiatives

During the annual Meeting of the Friends of TfE, which was held in November, 14 local groups shared experiences and initiatives in their Countries. The following is the contribution offered by the group of TfE in France.

Strasbourg

The Strasbourg group is very worried about the climatic emergency and thinks that a strengthened Europe may provide a valid contribution in this area. Presently it is preparing a conference/debate with the participation of Sven Giegold (MEP – Greens) and Jacques Muller (former mayor of Wattwiller, senator of the Haut-Rhin and a pro-climate activist). The date chosen is November 23 and the venue is the Catholic Students’ Centre, a place which Schumann visited regularly.

Being the city that hosts European entities, the citizens of Strasbourg have a special affinity with the issues linked to the European Union. The Movements and the ecclesial associations have a golden opportunity to work together in the context of Together for Europe.

Lyons

To mark Europe Day 2021, the TfE team in Lyons is proposing a performance loosely inspired by Laudato Sì’, and this will be held on May 9, 2021. This is about the closing down of the market: Ish and Isha sold very little! This leads to a humorous exchange between our two protagonists that come directly from the history of humanity. Through powerful scenes, with an extremely simply stage setting, the public will be invited to take sides with respect to some of today’s fundamental issues, and to discover that all things are linked to one another.

Paris

In Paris, the Deaconesses are organizing a formation course for young people at the Home of Unity. On April 13, 2021, TfE will enliven an ecumenical evening, which will include reflections and prayers, and which will form part of the ‘Prayer Journey’ for 2021.

We are still in contact with the Maison de l’Europe in Paris and the Municipality of Paris in view of the Europe Day. We plan to have a stand during the great event that is organized every year for this occasion.

We are also in contact with the young people of the Focolare who will conclude their project ‘dare to care’ with a joyful event in Brussels as part of the Festival of Europe, on 8-9 May 2021.

At national level

The national Committee had contacts with Lebanon to show its solidarity with that Country, often called Lebanon-message (according to an expression of Pope John Paul II): the Country of harmonious living and friendship among the religions.
As a result of the Beirut explosion, the economic and the political crises, many Lebanese have lost all hope. Their only option to live and survive is to leave the Country. The national Committee has encouraged initiatives aimed to help this Country, like the webinar, which various associations organized on October 15 to pray and to ask for financial aid to this Country.

The National Group of TfE in France

Crossing Europe in one day

Living May 9, 2020, online: Due to Covid-19, all the events planned for the Europe Day, which involved Together for Europe were held online. Together for Europe was in contact with persons from all over the Continent through discussions, conferences, prayers and singing.

Italy

In Italy, more than 900 Friends of Together from all over the Country joined in a Zoom conference. The theme was: “Integral ecology: a sustainable utopia for Europe”; two keynote speeches dealt with how to work for the planet’s better present and an even better future by respecting nature and persons. The meeting was concluded with an ecumenical prayer with representatives of numerous Churches and Communities, and with the renewal of the ‘pact’ of mutual love.

The Netherlands

Two conferences, one based in Utrecht and another in Amsterdam, were held in The Netherlands. “Utrecht in Dialogue” and “Pax” provided small online groups with food for thought during their lively discussions regarding ideas about Europe. Many young people took part.

The ‘Schuman Centre’ discussed the present situation of the Continent. 70 years ago, Robert Schuman announced his plan to start laying the foundations for a European Home embracing 500 million inhabitants. Jeff Fountain, the founder of the ‘Schuman Centre’, which was established ten years ago, concluded the discussion with an unusual form of prayer. He sang in English on the tune of “Ode of joy”, the Europahymnus, a rewritten interpretation: “With the vision now before us of a true community / Of all European peoples, rich in our diversiy / Let us pray and work together for our solidarity / Peace, equality and freedom, rooted in your charity.

Austria and Eastern Europe

The City of Graz was linked to six Countries for an exchange of lived out experiences. The Friends of Together in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Northern Italy shared how they were living the Covid-19 crisis in the spirit of mutual support. At the end, Bishop Wilhelm Krautwaschl thanked the participants for their witnessing as an international community, and concluded saying: “In spite of our differences and separations, through the cross we are all united one to the other”.

Germany

The YMCA of Esslingen-Stuttgart thought that at the planned prayer meeting, only locals would participate. However, when they moved the event online, the Friends of Together were linked to other Movements in diverse German, Italian and Dutch cities. Indeed, for all of them the evening turned out to be a true experience of Togetherness.

France

In France there were 34 link-ups scattered in Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Tours that formed a national network that manifested the diversities between the groups, and, at the same time, a profound mutual esteem. Gérard Testard (Efesia) encouraged the participants to make the ‘French voice’ ever more present in Europe. One of the participants concluded: “It was a moment of fraternity and trust in Europe that filled us all with a new hope”.

Beatriz Lauenroth

The events will be available online in the next few days on:

Italy: facebook.com/Insiemepereuropa.roma>>
Amsterdam : facebook schuman centre>>

Italy ‘Together’: it’s time for a New Humanity

Europe Day 2020 – “It was a little great miracle… an event in which we participated and not simply assisted at”. This is an immediate feedback – one of many – that we have received.

The preparation

Indeed, we really put our faith in this online opportunity: to be connected just as nature is connected! We had faith in God’s creativity, and within a few days, the Holy Spirit used our ‘few loaves and fishes’ (cf. John 6,9) to bring about an impressive ecumenical event, at which several Christian leaders took part. Their presence all over Italy is the fruit of a long and loving endeavour of communion, dialogue and nurturing of relationships that the various Committees have carried out in every Region. The commitment to build unity was evident in every word, gesture and expression.

The idea was the brainchild of the Rome Committee of the ‘Together for Europe’ network. Then the other Committees in Italy came together to organize this online event, and, notwithstanding the fact that they never met, they all lived a profound experience of brotherhood and the impression was that they have been working together for two months, and not for just two weeks. In practice they lived out among themselves the ‘Pact of mutual love’ (inspired by Jn 13, 34), which is, after all, the foundation of all that is done under the auspices of Together for Europe 

May 9, 2020 at 6 p.m.: Italy TOGETHER online!

The initiative was underwritten by 25 Movements and Communities that adhere to TfE; there were about 500 links connected from all over the Country, and this added solemnity to the Feast of a United Europe! Taking part, among many others, was the Hon. Stefano Fassina and several local administrators. Also, there were 45 ministers of Christian Churches and Communities. Much appreciated were the messages sent by Bishop Giovanni Traettino (Founder of the Pentecostal Church of Reconciliation), which was read out by Pastor Mauro Adragna (C.R.R. Palermo) and by Pastor Luca Maria Negro, President of the Federation of the Evangelical Churches in Italy.

Toward an integral ecology

While commemorating the 70th anniversary of the ‘Schuman Declaration’, the event focused upon the ‘Yes to Creation’, that is, how to protect the natural environment, which is a gift given to us by God, and which we ought to safeguard for future generations. The overall title of the keynote speeches was: “Integral ecology: a sustainable utopia for Europe”.  Reflections were offered by Stefania Papa, professor and expert on ecology, and Luca Fiorani, a physicist, who is an expert on climate; there were also video messages by Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew I and Antonio Gutierrez (Secretary General of UNO) on the occasion of the 50th Earth Day. All these instilled an awareness that together we can work for a better present and an even better future, within a framework of respect, cooperation and reciprocity.

Ecumenical prayer

It was in this spirit that the ecumenical prayer was lived out by the representatives of the various Churches. Dr Costantino Vacros (of the Greek Orthodox Church) started by reading Genesis 1, 26 – 31, which was followed by a rich input by the Baptist Pastor Gabriela Lio, President of the Federation of Evangelical Women in Italy. We then prayed with Pastor Nino Genova (New Pentecost Movement) and with diverse representatives of Catholic Movements and Communities. Then all together – joyfully, in full harmony and solemnly – we renewed the Pact of mutual love. We sealed that day with the Our Father, in order to remind ourselves that we are ONE and that together we can bring about a New Humanity.

Emanuela Cannella – Press Office TfE, Rome
You can review the event on facebook TfE Rome>> and on youtube>>.
We propose here some of the still-images made by Emanuela Cannella and Emanuela Fioravanti.

An International Link-up on the Feast of Europe

“Welcome to you all gathered here in the Graz Town Hall for our meeting on Europe Day!” This was the way we planned to welcome the participants on Saturday, May 9, 2020. However, Covid-19 disrupted all our plans.

Therefore, toward the end of March, our regional team of Together for Europe decided to postpone the meeting for next year, and to offer a simple substitute program via Skype.

The video conference call of Together for Europe, Saturday May 9, 2020

Nevertheless, the ‘makeshift solution’ resulted in an hour-long online meeting with about 100 participants from Austria and five other neighbouring Countries. The participants included Christians belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church and Communities of the Free Churches.

Brief inputs from Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and Carinthia provided an updated and authentic insight regarding daily life during the Covid-19 crisis. All the participants were grateful that they could mutually share their experiences and thus become aware of how others are living in their respective Countries. Thus means that, now, they can pray even better for each other.   

The diocesan Bishop Wilhelm Krautwaschl, too, took part in this online meeting. He thanked for this experience of communion that goes beyond borders, and concluded by saying “In spite of our differences and separations, through the Cross we are all united one to the other”.

Plans for May 8, 2021…

Naturally, a video conference call cannot take the place of a Day Meeting. Yet, in the present circumstances, by the way this Europe Day 2020 was lived out, Together was strengthened. It was, indeed, a successful preparation for the Day Meeting scheduled for May 8, 2021, when we could, hopefully, truly say: “Grüß Gott hier im Rathaus Graz …!” – “Welcome to Graz Town Hall!”.

The Together for Europe Team, Austria.

 

“Online Dialogue Europe” 9 May 2020

“Online Dialogue Europe” 9 May 2020

On the 9th of May we will celebrate Europe Day and through this online dialogue we will discuss the EU project: after 75 years of peace within the EU, how do we move forward?

Date: Saturday, May 9, 2020,  Europe Day
Time: 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.

Once you register on  //www.utrechtindialoog.nl/bijeenkomsten/europa/

you will receive an email with the link and the password that will allow you to participate. Participation is free of charge.

Languages: Dutch and English

It’s been 70 years since the Schuman Declaration and we have enjoyed 75 years of peace in Europe. What about the future?

The European Union, which embraces 513 million inhabitants and a great diversity of Countries, cultures and identities, is a unique project in the history of humanity. It is the greatest peace project that followed the Second World War. Robert Schuman once said: “The European co-operation and integration could not, and must not, be limited to an economic and technical endeavour: it needs a soul, an awareness of its historical roots and its present and future responsibility, together with a political will to serve the common human ideal”. Thirty years ago, in 1989, we witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall: it was a promising event, one that took us all, Easterners and Westerners, by surprise. A wave of euphoria swept over all Europe: peace in Europe, peace for all!

In 2020, 70 years since the Schuman Declaration, we will discuss the development of this human project and, above all, how to keep on making it better. We will speak about culture and values in Europe: how do we deal with our differences and what do we have in common? Which are our historical roots? What kind of future do we desire for Europe? Which are the main challenges that Europe must face? How can we work together to promote a stable peace in Europe, and which values are indispensible for this objective? We will try to answer these questions during our small groups’ discussions.

Program
2.00 p.m. Interactive introduction of the theme
2.15 p.m. Video by PAX: ‘Four future scenarios for Europe in 2040’
2.20 p.m. Dialogue at the ‘tables’ (parallel session with groups’ discussion)
3:20 p.m. Plenary session to gather feedback from the dialogue sessions

Together for Europe in the Netherlands actively supports this initiative, organized by  Pax voor vrede en Comité Europadag Utrecht. Hope to see you!

Beatriz Lauenroth 

 

Photos of people: ©Canva

Graz – ‘Plan B’ for the Europe Day 2020

Graz – ‘Plan B’ for the Europe Day 2020

On February 27, we updated you about the intensive preparations being carried out by the local team of Together for Europe to mark the Europe Day with an international event in Graz (Austria). Although, due to the pandemic a Plan B is now needed, this did not prevent those persons to keep going ‘together’ to start preparing for 2021. And they will do so with a Skype Conference call on May 9.   

This is what Theresia Fürpass, of the organizing team wrote to us:

“The idea behind the event to mark the Europe Day on May 9, 2020 – “Together for Europe – Meeting in Graz” – was to promote the encounter of Austrians, Italians, Slovenians, Croatians and Hungarians. Read more>> 

We were planning to have an in-depth approach to the theme of dialogue; to exchange experiences resulting for the ‘7 Yeses’ of Together for Europe; to offer a guided tour of Graz, and to conclude the day with an ecumenical prayer meeting. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has made all this impossible. Nonetheless, we still want to keep on journeying together seeing that a lot has been already done. Therefore, we are planning to hold this meeting in 2021.

An yet, it would be a great pity if we were to allow the Europe Day to pass without any sign of celebration! Thus, we invite all those who were planning to participate at “Together for Europe – Meeting in Graz” to join us for a Skype Conference all on May 9, from 10 to 11 a.m. Many have already confirmed their participation. Some of us will give an update regarding the present situation in their Country and we shall conclude by praying together the ‘Our Father’.

We are more than convinced that God will show us the way forward. So far, he has guided us in an impressive way, and has made it possible for us to achieve much more than we could have ever imagined”.

The Team of TfE in Austria

Contact: f.theresia@gmx.at
0043 3842 27 513
0043 664 73577 163

At Graz, May 9 will be international

At Graz, May 9 will be international

“Visiting one another, talk to each other, being a gift one for the other and praying together”. The preparations for the Feast of Europe (May 9, 2020) in the Austrian city of Graz have been going on for months. The team of Together for Europe in Styria extends its invitation for an open and international Meeting.

On the occasion of the Feast of Europe (May 9, 2020) the Friends of Together for Europe from Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary will come together in the Town Hall of Graz. The meeting will give persons coming from Eastern and Western Europe the opportunity to meet and know each other. With the aim of facilitating the sharing between the participants, there will be a keynote speech about dialogue.

Several Movements and Communities of Together for Europe will share how they live out marriage and family life, the economy, the safeguarding of life and creation, civic responsibilities, etc, as Christians. They would indicate pathways for an ever more liveable Europe. 

The guided tours of the city will enhance the participants’ encounter with Austria and among themselves. During the concluding ecumenical prayer meeting in the Landhaushof the pressing issues that Europe is facing will be entrusted to God through thanksgivings and prayers. The program will be enriched with musical performances.

The detailed program:

  • 8.30 a.m. Arrivals, coffee and cakes
  • 9.00 a.m. Greetings by the mayor Dr. Siegfried Nagl, Dr Anna Hollwäger, Superintendent Wolfgang Rehner and others
  • 9.30 a.m. Prof. Dr Petra Seinmair-Pösel: “A conversation that unites us all“. The importance of dialogue for Europe
  • 10.30 a.m. Break
  • 11.00 a.m. Life experiences regarding the following realities:

– Marriage and family life
– Solidarity with the poor
– Civic responsibilities
– Safeguarding life
– Safeguarding creation
– A commitment for peace
– Economy at the service of the human person

  • 12.00 noon. Lunch offered by the city of Graz
  • 1.30 p.m. Guided tours of the city in these languages: German, Italian, Croatian, Slovenian and Hungarian.
  • 3.30 – 4.00 p.m. Concluding ecumenical prayer meeting in the courtyard of the palace “Landhaushof”.

Bookings are to be made not later than Sunday April 26, 2020.

f.theresia@gmx.at
0043 3842 27 513
0043 664 73577 163

The team of Together for Europe in Styria

Download the invitation (in German):

Einladung MfE Graz 9Mai2020 (1.0 MB, 152 downloads)

Photo: Pixabay, Map: by Tschubby – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0

Europe’s splendour is its people

Preparing the ground for reconciliation.

Walter Kriechbaum is an Evangelical Pastor and secretary of the YMCA of Bavaria. He has a soft spot for Europe and takes reconciliation seriously. To this end he has established friendships even in Poland and Ukraine within the international and ecumenical network Together for Europe

As a German, in my travels in Eastern Europe I’m often reminded of the historical cruelties. Once, while in the company of Polish friends, I found myself speechless at Lutsk (Ukraine), the place that commemorates the thousands of Poles that were mercilessly murdered. The same thing happened in a cemetery in the middle of one of the greatest battle fields of World War Two. All of a sudden, my friends asked me, a German and a member of the Evangelical Church, to pray upon the dead and ask for forgiveness and peace for our peoples of Europe”. Walter Kriechbaum experienced that living reconciliation together may entail, among other things, journeying with others along the pathway of affliction, taking upon oneself the sufferings of the others. Ecumenical reconciliation entails evaluating the gifts of the others and creating space for their development. Walter considers the suffering of an incomplete unity as a seed for the future.

Reconciliation does not require proportional representation

Munich 2016: During an ecumenical prayer meeting for the unity of Europe organized by Poles and Germans together, some twenty Russians entered the church unexpectedly. Water was leading the prayers together with a Polish friend, and for an instant was at a loss how to manage the new situation. Then he asked one from the Russian group to come forward and pronounce a prayer. At the end the participants – Catholics, Protestants, members of the Free Churches and Russian Orthodox – received a blessing from a Polish priest of the Schoenstatt Movement. Walter: “I learned that ecumenical reconciliation does not require either proportionality or deciding who is right. Jesus Christ dwells in the other’s heart and in a fantastic way he transforms diversity into a complementary, without any cancellations”.

Reconciliation requires trust

During his many travels in Eastern Europe Walter continues to weave a friendship net:  “This, however, demands patience and perseverance. Sometimes it takes years to eliminate distrust. I have understood that the ecumenical experience “in the periphery” means feeling close and far away at the same time, and to be able to tolerate tension. When all of us turn our gaze upon Jesus, an interior closeness slowly develops. This cannot be forced; it is God’s work”. Walter is convinced that the mutual trust that ensues allows persons to speak freely and to experience an interior freedom.

Reconciliation requires that we be detached

According to Walter “reconciliation and ecumenical harmony cannot be organized. We ought to be detached all the time, and keep on entering into the Kairos of God. Only he knows the right time”. Nevertheless, we may prepare for this. “Together we will succeed to make Europe to shine. Its splendour is its people that are journeying toward reconciliation”.  Walter is convinced of this and lives for it – starting anew each day.

Beatriz Lauenroth

Europe Day, People’s Day

Europe Day on 9 May has also inspired members of Together for Europe to act.  Like the tiles of a mosaic representing a picture of hope for Europe a variety of groups are involved in organizing events which include associations, movements and different church communities.

What is it that unites people from Prague, Zurich and Rome with people from Milan, Toulouse, Esslingen and Ljubljana or even people from Padua, Brussels, Selbitz and Palermo? Or people from Lyon, Viterbo and Strasbourg with people from Trent, Paris, Trieste and Klagenfurt?  People whose languages, stories, ethnicities and cultures are so different?!  Just one desire.  To live the  people’s ‘beatitude’: “Blessed are the people who belong to the Lord” (cf. Sal 33:12). People that have their own characteristics, their own strong identity, their own unique history and culture, but know that they are first and foremost the people the “Lord has chosen as his inheritance”. Celebrating Europe Day has shown us what the ‘Lord’s People’ look like.

It includes people who above all feel the need to pray together, thus giving those responsible for the different Churches an opportunity to get to know one another and meet the faithful.  Others want to participate with concrete actions in their own cities. There are others who prefer to build relationships and by going beyond their own borders, organize meetings enabling different ethnic groups which have historically been in conflict with one another to be reunited. There are those who feel strongly about the social problems and make their commitment in hospitals, with migrants, in families or with young people, involving politicians as well. Some feel particularly called to face the cultural challenges in society and organize round tables on dialogue between East and West in Europe or try to raise public awareness for a fairer economic system and for nuclear disarmament. There are also those who believe in the importance of visibility and organise marches, while others invite experts to speak and encourage reflection on particular subjects. And we could go on…  But isn’t this rich diversity of a ‘People’ where each one is nourished by their own charism, and shares the fruits of their charism for the good of all something beautiful and dynamic?

The press also reported on the events: in the Rome edition of the daily newspaper la Repubblica, wrote: “Can Europe be faithful to its original vocation – that of bringing together different traditions, visions and religions?  Yes, if it focuses on its Christian roots, which brings individuals, groups, ethnicities and peoples together and highlights the positive aspects of each culture. This is the contribution it makes to humanity, by making the unity of reconciled diversities a reality which becomes a mutual enrichtment”. Vita Trentina, the weekly magazine for the diocese of Trent reported: “Together for Europe reaffirms that the future of Europe lies in a culture of Togetherness. The Palermo Chronicle lists the strong testimonies given to 1,600 people, of how members of various Churches are transforming their cities together. L’Avvenire, a Catholic daily newspaper, reported on their Milan page: “Openness and unity in diversity. This is Europe according to Christians.” The weekly magazine of the diocese of Padua reads: “Padua acknowledges the urgency of the European situation and the desire to unite the civil part with the Christian and religious part.

These are just a few newsflashes from the history of Europe today. Six demonstrations in Austria, four evenings in Vienna with political figures, spoke of a “living Europe, living according to its vocation”. Germany, the four principal French cities, Brussels – the ‘chapel for Europe’, Prague, Klagenfurt and Ljubljana all testified to the fact that “Everything is born, grows, blossoms from the source of “Togetherness”!

Thank you, “Europe Day”, for mobilizing energies, highlighting our continent’s potential and reviving hope for the future.

Ada Maria Guazzo, Ilona Toth

To find out about the initiatives in individual cities and regions click here>>

Europe Day 2019 Strasbourg

Together for Europe in Strasbourg: 9 -10 May, 2019 

A keynote speech and a debate

On May 9, 2019 the Students’ House in Strasbourg was the venue of an event of Together for Europe. The venue was quite symbolic because, as the speaker recalled, not without emotion, that Robert Schumann used to frequent that place when he was living in Strasbourg.

The entities which organized the event were: ICA (Independent Catholic Action), Terre Solidaire (a committee against hunger and promoter of development), DECERE (Christians for Europe, directed by the Dominicans), Pax Christi and the Focolare Movement. About 100 persons followed with great interest the keynote speech which was delivered by François Brunagel, former head of protocol at the European Parliament. He spoke very clearly about the challenges which Europe is facing. He sustained that the foundation of Europe, immediately following World War Two, may be considered to be a miracle. What was now needed was a new breath to push Europe forward and he went on to describe its most relevant characteristics: peace, prosperity and the respect for human rights. Then two youths shared their experiences: a young man explained how he benefitted from the Erasmus program; and a young woman, a refugee from Cameroon, shared her positive and negative experiences which highlighted the benefits and the limitations found in Europe.

During the debate which followed many points were made clearer, and it was explained what Europe could do and what the individual Countries ought to do. The debate was chaired by the directress of the radio of the Churches in Alsace, and could have gone on forever.

An ecumenical prayer for Europe

On Friday May 10 about 200 persons gather in the «Temple Neuf», a protestant church in the center of Strasbourg, to pray together and to renew their commitment in favor of Europe.

This ecumenical prayer is held every Friday. On that occasion the contents were enriched with intercession for Europe and with two comments about the love of enemies. In fact, after World War Two, the love of enemies was crucial for the foundation of the European Union, which made possible 70 years of peace, and which remains essential if we really want a “Christian Europe”.

A significant moment was that of the peoples’ prayer. In small groups, the participants wrote a wish and a request for Europe. These were written on golden stars which were then placed on the altar covered with a blue cloth: thus the European flag was formed and it looked like a star-filled sky.  The final blessing was proclaimed in sever languages by persons coming from Poland, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, England and Alsace.

A buffet of wine and cheese produced in the Countries of the European Union was then offered: each item carried a small flag of the respective Country. The representatives of the ecclesial Movements and Associations were glad to be able to know each other better and to obtain some exposure. A dynamic process was set in motion, and it will surely keep going on.

Team of Together for Europe in Strasbourg

©Photo: Students’ House: Michel Batt; Temple Neuf: Olivier Benoît

Europe Day 2019 Toulouse

On May 11, 2019, in Toulouse, 60 persons gathered in the spirit of Together for Europe.

Among those present there were Gérard Testard, of the European Committee and two members of the National Committee. Besides representatives of the Movements there were other persons who were interested in Europe.

Gérard Testard delivered an illuminating speech through which he explained the importance of Europe, the impact of the European decisions upon our daily lives and the contribution Christians ought to give for the future of the Continent with values such as unity, the common good, solidarity and cooperation. He also spoke about Europe’s mission in the world. The discussion which followed made clearer to all certain issues.

At the end, the Pact of Mutual Love was read out and this was followed with a prayer for Europe, which was written by Gérard Testard (you can read it here in French).

We have experienced together a fantastic a moment of brotherhood. Someone affirmed: “I had no intention of voting; however, after this speech I’ve changed my mind”. And another: “I was very much struck and challenged by the Pact of Mutual Love as the way to bring together Christ to today’s Europe”.

The team of Together for Europe in Toulouse

Download Gérard Testard’s Prayer for Europe (French)  

Prière Pour L'Europe - G Testard (268.0 KB, 119 downloads)

Europe Day 2019 Roma

Rome, too, celebrated the Feast of Europe

The Together for Europe group in Rome took up the suggestion put forward during the Prague meeting of the Friends which was held last November. This group is made up of 13 Movements[1]. Thus, from March 25 till May 9 the group enlivened celebrations and prayers for our Continent in 5 Basilicas which are linked to the patron Saints of Europe, during which the respective communities were involved.

We wanted the main event marking the Feast of Europe to be prepared in various stages with initiatives linked to the programmatic 7 Yeses (Cf Stuttgart 2007 message). Thus, to present the “Yes to Life and to Family” the program of the ‘Village for the earth’ held at Villa Borghese included a talk by Gianluca de Palo (National President of the Forum of the Associations of Families)  on the theme “A stronger the family means a stronger Europe”. The chairperson was Alessandra Balsamo (President of the Forum for the Lazio region) and Vincenzo Bassi delivered a speech interspersed with personal experiences.

A Meeting was held to affirm the “Yes to Creation”; this was organized by the Association ‘The Civilization of Love’ and the theme chosen was “Nuclear peace and environmental challenges”. This Meeting was held in the Vatican on May 8.

That same day, in the afternoon, the main event was in full swing. In the Hall “Spazio Europa” (run by the European Parliament office in Italy and the Representatives of the European Commission) a cultural meeting was held with a keynote speech on the theme “A new economy for Europe in the spirit of the Founding Fathers”. The speaker was Prof. Leonardo Becchetti who teaches Political Economy at the Tor Vergata University in Rome. This was followed by a well-participated debate. The speech was defined as being of a high scientific standard and of great interest to the 100 listeners who also appreciated the ‘teaching’ passion of the speaker: rather than a lesson on sustainable economy, they were regaled with a profound reflection imbued with original and illuminating ideas.

After this cultural event we proceeded toward the most beautiful Basilica of the XII Apostles, where the ecumenical Prayer Vigil was to be held on the text “…each one heard their own language being spoken” (Acts 2:6).

The congregation numbered about 400. Next to the altar, together with the parish priest, Fr Agnello, there were Gabriela Lio (Baptist Pastor), Luca Maria Negro (President of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy), Fr Federico Lombardi (Jesuit), the Archimandrite Simeon Katsinas (of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople), Mgr Gianrico Ruzza who is an Auxiliary Bishop of Rome and the Secretary General at the Vicariate of Rome, and Fr Gheorghe Militaru (representing Bishop Siluan of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate), who alternated in reading excerpts from the Bible and offered some reflections.

All the input offered was important and interesting. This goes also for the analyses of today’s Europe given by the journalist Enzo Romeo, the presentation of the ‘mothers’ of Europe and the witnessing by Rola, 20, from the Syrian city of Homs who arrived in Italy thanks to the safe human passageways organized from Lebanon by the Community of St Egidio, the Evangelical Churches and the Waldesian Church.

The participation of various Christian Confessions was highly appreciated because this conferred an important ecumenical stamp, thus showing that mutual love is stronger than the differences.

The choir which enlivened the Vigil was made up of 28 singers from 5 different Movements. And what a good job they did!

Team of TfE in Rome (©Photo: Elena Coppola / Maurizio Sabbatucci)

See short interview with Father Federico Lombardi (Italian)>> 
See short interview with Luca Maria Negro, FCEI President (Italian)>>
See short interview with Enzo Romeo, Journalist (Italian)>>

[1] Anima Europae, International Association of St Catherine, Community of the Fifth Dimension, Community of St Egidio, Community of the Risen Jesus, Community Pope John XXIII, Community God’s Victory, Teresian Institute, Civilization of Love, Focolare Movement, Équipes Notre Dame, Movement For  a Better World, Renewal in the Holy Spirit

 

Europe Day 2019 Paris

The various initiatives of Together in Paris

On April 2, we met to hold an ecumenical prayer meeting in the really magnificent chapel of the Deaconesses of Reuilly in Paris. This meeting was organized and conducted by the Together for Europe group together with the local community.

“Good evening to you all and thank you for being here. In a few days’ time the elections for the European Parliament will be held, and we want to offer to God all the debates and ideas which continually invade our minds and hearts. Thus we want to pray together for Europe”. That was how we welcomed each other.

A brief presentation of this Together for Europe initiative was followed by singing, meditations and moments of silence. The culminating moment was experienced just after the meditation upon the “7 Yeses” proclaimed in the 2007 Stuttgart Message: each person was invited to write, read and then attach his/her prayer on a map of Europe. Our prayer then focused upon the whole world, particularly upon Africa thanks to a singer who has lived in that Continent for many years. When the prayer meeting was over, people found it hard to say goodbye: their relationships of unity had become profound.

On May 4, we celebrated the Feast for Europe in the square of the City Council, just like last year. Together with other 40 Associations which promote Europe, we have set up a stand in the «Village Européen». This allowed us to have numerous contacts with the Parisians and other Europeans who just happened to be there. This year we focused upon the presentation of the “7 Yeses”. Many persons told us that these were exactly what they yearned for.

On May 14, the Emmanuel community took the initiative to organize a Prayer Vigil for Europe in a beautiful Church at Longjumeau, near Paris. This started with a presentation of Together for Europe, which was then followed by some fantastic singing of praise and many prayer intentions for Europe on the basis of the “7 Yeses” which were presented as meditations. The feedback we got after the Vigil convinced us that, since the Vigil was held on the eve of the European elections, that time spent in prayer was a privileged opportunity, indeed necessary, to entrust everything unto the Holy Spirit.

Team of Together for Europe in Paris

 

 

 

Europe Day 2019 Palermo

The Feast for Europe was held at the Pentecostal church “Word of Grace” with some 1300 participants and over 4000 following via YouTube and Facebook. A whole spectrum of social initiatives carried out together by various Movements and members of diverse Churches were presented.

Videos were used to explain the endeavor of Fr Carlo Santoro in Lecce and that of Pastor Tommaso Carpino of the International Church. In helping some Pentecostals in need, they saw walls of mistrust crumbling down, and instead a true friendship in the spirit of collaboration came about.

One could feel the atmosphere of brotherhood and a culture of “togetherness”, and this was quite visible among the four presenters who belonged to 4 diverse Movements and Churches, as well as during the keynote speeches delivered by the Apostle Lirio Porrello of the “Word of Grace”, the representative of the Steering Committee, Ilona Toth (Hungarian, who came from Rome) and by Mgr Alerio Montalbano, the Bishop’s Vicar.

When it came to the final prayer, Apostle Lirio, who composed the prayer, passed the microphone to Pastor Nino Genova of the Sharing in Jesus Church of Agrigento (New Pentecostal Movement) and asked him to read it out. This tangible sign of communion and mutual love impressed one and all.

Following are just the titles of the activities presented: aid to prisoners and their families provided by the Pentecostals in collaboration with Fr Loris, the Catholic chaplain; the medical care given jointly by Christian doctors belonging to diverse associations; a lobby for a just family taxation (carried out by PdG, Eben Ezer, Forum Associations of Families, and the Focolare Movement); and “Mustard Seed” an open House run by the Waldensian, Lutheran and Baptist Churches.

Other initiatives: the local Caritas that helps homeless families; the Catholic Action which embarked on a project to make young people aware of the danger of gambling; the Adventum Foundation of the Adventist Church which helps families that risk being victims of usury; the “Word of Grace” helps the homeless; the Mission of Biagio Conte which looks after more than a thousand persons, and some others. These facts have shown that, through their charitable endeavors, the Christians are a lively reality in the midst of society.

There were also persons who shared their experiences of honesty, love of enemy, and the acceptance of an illness thanks to a closeness to God.

The young people presented a mime about “Jesus breaking the chains” –  a meaningful dance performed by young people from Eben Ezer Church (New Pentecostal Movement) and others belonging to the Focolare Movement. Other young people belonging to various Pentecostal Churches and members of the “I am Rev” (I’m a revolution) Association explained how they help other young people to conquer their fears and fragilities. Their contributions manifested a Christianity that was young, fresh, full of initiatives and an authentic love for Jesus.

A participant summed up the evening thus: “What unites us is the living of the Gospel”.

The organizing committee of TfE in Palermo (Video and photos with the permission of Biagio Pittaresi)

 

 

Europe Day 2019 Trento

In Trento, on May 3, a cultural moment in the great hall of the Vigilianum and an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil. 

In Trent, the Feast of Europe was organized by the six Movements which have been  cooperating with Together for Europe for many years. These are the Alliance Dives in Misericordia, the Neo-catechumenal Way, Cursillo, Focolare Movement, New Horizons and Via Pacis. The event immediate got the support of the Episcopal delegate for Ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, Fr Cristiano Bettega.

The date chosen was May 3, 2019 and it was made up of two distinct parts: a cultural event at the Vigilianum followed by an ecumenical prayer Vigil.

The main hall of the Vigilianum, which seats about a hundred, was packed. Taking part, among others, were Fr Joan Catalin with members of his Romanian Orthodox Church, the Lutheran coordinator Mrs Berbel with a member of her community and the mayor of Trent, Alessandro Andreatta. Fr Bettega acted as chairperson and introduced the keynote speakers. Milena Mariani is Professor of Systematic Theology and History of Theology of the XX Century at the ‘Romano Guardini’ in Trent and Professor of Mariology in Bolzano.  She delivered an important, farsighted talk about “Europe and the Christian Confessions toward the future”. Lucia Fronza Crepaz teaches at the Social Preparation School of Trent, and her talk had a socio-political theme: “Europe: an encounter of peoples, building up peace!”. During the interval between one speech and the other, two young men of the Neo-catechumenal Way played Beethoven’s Hymn to Joy.

The buffet which was offered in the adjacent hall was highly appreciated and it was an opportunity to share and make new acquaintances.

The Feast continued with an ecumenical Prayer Vigil which was held at the Immaculate Shrine, which is run by the Alliance Dives in Misericordia. The Vigil consisted of prayers, hymns (two of which were provided by the Orthodox community) and reflections – all done in an atmosphere of deep recollection. Among other texts, the messages of Pope Francis, of Patriarch Bartholomew I and of the Lutheran Bishop Bedford Strohm, which were delivered to the Munich 2016 meeting, were read out. The contributions of Fr Joan and the Lutheran coordinator Berbel were quite meaningful. The former underlined the correlation between the “cultural” input which preceded the Vigil, whereas the latter highlighted the common aims of the Christian Confessions which could, and ought to be enhanced, like reconciliation and peace, the care of the environment, solidarity with the poor and the downtrodden. Fr Bettega augured that such events may be repeated, and that other local entities be asked to participate. As a sign of practical sharing, the money collected was destined to help the refugees presently in Trent.

Foto: © Barbara Passalacqua / Nino Carella

Europe Day 2019 Castel Gandolfo

Sorry, but the text is only available in Italian

Foto: ©Thomas Klann

Europe Day 2019 Padova

May 9, 2019: For the first time together at an ecumenical Prayer Vigil 

The “Europe Day” gave us the opportunity to live out a new experience of communion with the local Church and to be part of the “Biblical Festival” held in Padua. During the last months we held several meetings and these allowed us to know better some extraordinary local realities: the Council of the Christian Churches, the Migrantes Ministry, the University Center, the Council of the lay Organizations, the Community of the Franciscan Conventual Friars of St Anthony’s Basilica, and some others. Thus, after a intense and fruitful work, the final version of the Vigil was finalized. What we considered to be the most important thing was our continuous striving for communion: indeed, each one experienced an ever truer relationship.

The Churches contributed excerpts from the Carta Oecumenica, which were alternated by Biblical texts read in various languages; all these offered a showcase of the richness of the spiritual and cultural patrimony embellishing the ecumenical endeavor.

On Thursday May 9 – the 69th anniversary of the Declaration on Europe –  some 300 persons gathered in the Church of St Sophie.

Joanna, a young woman from Poland, kicked off the event with a short talk entitled “Europe on the move” during which she shared her experience of welcome and encounter in Italy. Then it was Stefan’s turn to talk about “Europe being tested: today’s challenges and those forever”; this young man came from Syria thanks to safe passageways. The last part focused upon “Christians and Europe: salt and light”; following by a chant sung by the Ukraine community, Ansamma, a pediatrician from India, addressed the gathering as the diocesan representative of the Ministry to Migrants.

The evening was enlivened with Taizé-style chants in various languages delicately performed by the choir Shalom.

Since one of the aims of Together for Europe is the development of Africa, and, also, since Padua is twinned with the city of Beira, a collection was held to send aid to the people of Mozambique who have recently suffered a devastating flooding. The sum collected, which was a further confirmation that the message of brotherhood has been well received, will finance two projects.  The whole event ended with a get-together: that also provided the opportunity to be together in friendship and to build new and important relationships in the city.

The network Together for Europe in Padua (Community of St Egidio, Community of the Franciscan Conventual Friars of St Anthony’s Basilica, Pope John XIII Community, University Center of Padua, The Shalom Choir of Abano Terme, Focolare Movement)

Foto: © Giorgia Chiaro

Europe Day 2019 Carinthia

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Europe Day 2019 Milano

Milan, May 9, 2019: an unusual multicolored march bearing a proposal

It all started from a simple idea: to plan together with as many entities as possible. These included several Catholic associations: Agesci, Catholic Action, Community of St Egidio, CVX, The St Benoît Institutes, the Focolare Movement, Rinascita Cristiana, and the European Scouts Movement. Also represented were the Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and Romanian Orthodox Churches. Indeed all the Churches forming part of the Council of Christian Churches in Milan adhered to the initiative which also found the support of all the diocesan organisms. This collaboration gave rise to such an impressive manifestation that the municipality of Milan and the European Commission  offered their collaborate and the European Parliament extended its sponsorship. The idea that matured was to have an event in a main square to be able to speak to the people. This event was to be preceded by awareness meetings in schools and parishes.

Thus, on May 9, a march started from the church of St Eustorgio and ended at the church of St Laurence. Following days of rain, that day the sun shone and warmed the city, and many considered this to be a good omen. Those who addressed the participants included Fr Traian Valdman, of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Dorothee Mack, Pastor of the Evangelical Methodist Church, and the Archbishop, Mgr Delpini.

Two moving experiences were shared with the crowd: that of a young man of the Community of St Egidio who expressed his vision of Europe, and that of Alessandra and Antonio Beltrami, who spoke about their experience of welcoming in the network of families linked to the Action for a United World ad that of New Families of the Focolare Movement.

Many expressed their appreciation of how the event was conducted and for the contents it offered. The Archbishop was one of those who seemed quite happy: “You were really great!”.

Two professional actors, Irene Quartana and Stefano Orlandi, were asked to read some significant texts. Afterwards Stafano wrote: “Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to be part of such a meaningful and important event at a time in which closure and individualism are rampant”.

To us, it seems that the greatest result was the strengthened relationships between all the members of the Commission. Here are some comments: “I thank the Lord for having found new brothers and sisters” (Pastor D. Mack); “The most important thing was working with such fantastic persons” (Anna Boccardi, Agesci); “You wanted to organize an ecumenical event, and you succeeded in full” Sara Comparetti, Baptist Church). The general feeling was to go ahead all together.

The organizing commission

Foto: ©Alberto Fornasari

Prague: What vision for the Europe of the future?

In Prague, in the heart of Europe, on the occasion of the Europe Day, the Movements and Communities of different Churches organize prayers for Europe, followed by a Round Table with political representatives. The theme: “What vision for the Europe of the future?”

V Praze, v srdci Evropy, u příležitosti Dne pro Evropu, pořádají křesťanská hnutí a společenství z různých církví modlitby za Evropu, na které bude navazovat panelová diskuze se zástupci politického života.

Stáhněte si plakát  –  Download the poster (in Czech)

SPE Praha 8.5.2019 (645.2 KB, 147 downloads)

French cities celebrating the Europe Day

Here the various appointments

TOULOUSE

On May 11, 2019, after having met on a regular basis with Mgr. Le Gall, their bishop, will be holding an open meeting to deepen the objectives of Together for Europe.

LYON

After having made a survey in the streets of Lyon, the local committee is organizing a cultural evening on the 3 themes that emerged from the survey: ‘Peace, Culture and Economy’. This will be held on May 11, and will be followed by a Prayer Vigil for Europe and for the imminent elections.

STRASBOURG 

  • May 9, at the Students’ House: a Conference about Europe by the ex-speaker of the European Parliament (François Brunagel); a refugee from the Cameroons and a university student following the Erasmus program will share their witnessing. The ensuing debate will be chaired by a personality from the Churches’ Radio of the region;
  • May 10, at an Evangelical church: an ecumenical prayer service for Europe, with representatives of four Churches taking part. A get-together will follow, with wines and cheeses from various European countries being served;

The promotion for these 2 events will be done jointly and it will be made available in the churches of the various denominations present in the region. The leaflets will be handed out personally.

PARIS

  • April 2, as part of “the journey toward May 9”, in the chapel of the Protestant Deaconesses of the ‘Maison d’unite’, 60 persons gathered for an ecumenical prayer service organized by various Movements. The reflections and the intentions of the prayers were based on our 7 Yeses.
  • May 4, in the Municipality Square, a stand will be erected as part of the “Village Européen”, which is organized for the Feast of Europe by the House of Europe and the Paris commune.
  • May 14, at 8.30 p.m.: a Prayer Vigil for Europe in the church of Longjumeau, on the outskirts of Paris, is being organized by the Emmanuel community and the Focolare Movement.

LONGJUMEAU 

Tuesday, 14 May 8.30 pm prayer for Europe

Download the flyer / poster of the various events (french language): 

Invitation 11 Mai 2019 Toulouse (75.0 KB, 139 downloads)
Invitation 2 Avril 2019 Paris (177.4 KB, 159 downloads)
Affiche Strasbourg Mai 2019 (857.0 KB, 157 downloads)
Affiche Lyon Mai 2019 (209.5 KB, 134 downloads)
Invitation Longjumeau 14 Mai 2019 (639.8 KB, 154 downloads)

And what’s happening in Rome?

The group of Movements and Communities of Rome has warmly welcomed the invitation to join the “Prayer Journey” for Europe which goes on for six weeks, from March 25 till May 9, 2019. The communities of 5 important Basilicas linked to the Patron Saints of Europe have committed themselves to pray daily for Europe; each day, in turn, a Movement of Together for Europe enlivens these prayers.

Moreover, so as to deepen some of our 7 Yeses, there will be the following initiatives:

  • Gigi De Palo will take part in a debate with university students on the ‘Family’. This is scheduled for Sunday, April 28 at 3.30 p.m. in the tent for conferences at the Galoppatoio in Villa Borghese, as part of the “Village for the Earth”, www.villaggioperlaterra.it/;
  • A meeting with the theme Nuclear Peace and Environmental Challenges”: Christians in Europe will be held at the Institute Maria SS. Bambina – Vatican City, on Wednesday May 8, from 9.00 a.m. till 4 p.m. www.nuclearforpeace.org.

On the eve of the Europe Day, Wednesday May 8, 2019:

  •  4.30 p.m., at the ‘Spazio Europa’ (run by the Office of the European Parliament in Italy and the Commission’s Representation in Italy) there will be a cultural meeting with the theme “A new economy for Europe in the spirit of the Founding Fathers”; Prof Leonardo Becchetti (Professor of political economy at the Tor Vergata University) will deliver the keynote speech, which will be followed by a debate;
  • 6.30 p.m., an ecumenical Prayer Vigil for Europe at the Basilica dei XII Apostoli (Church of the Twelve Holy Apostles), Piazza SS. Apostoli, with the theme: «… each one heard their own language being spoken» (Acts 2, 6).

Download the Flyer for the Vigil of May 8, 2019 (in italian)

Volantino 8 Maggio 2019 Roma (228.1 KB)

 

 

Slovenia is getting ready

At the meeting in February this year, together with almost all the Movements and Communities in Slovenia that are engaged in Together for Europe, we started working on the idea that emerged last November in Prague of organising “Europe Day” on 9th May as an event that would leave an indelible mark on the people of Slovenia by presenting the values of Together for Europe.

Many of us will also be going to Klagenfurt, Carinthia in Austria on 3rd May to celebrate Europe Day with some of our Italian neighbours.

On 4th May we will be in Brezje visiting Slovenia’s most famous Marian shrine where Archbishop Stanislav Zore will celebrate Mass  and where we will praying together for a united Europe.  Immediately afterwards there will be a moment of encounter between everyone from the different Movements and Communities; it will be a wonderful opportunity to deepen the unity and friendship that has bound us together for so long.

We will use every means of communication to spread the word about this event and take the idea of “Europe Day” all over Slovenia. We will also participate in the prayer network taking place in Europe from 25 March to 9 May, and this year we would also like to invite different personalities and members of the press that we have got to know to the different events.

We have also decided to take concrete action towards reconciliation in Slovenia.

Marjana and Pavel Snoj on behalf of the Together for Europe Team in Slovenia

 

Carinthia, a crossroads of nations

We are a group of Movements belonging to diverse Churches in Carinthia. Our praying together and a fruitful dialogue helped us to reflect upon how to celebrate the “Europe Day 2019”.

Through the contact with the “Europahaus” (House of Europe) at Klagenfurt we found a suitable place and this allowed us to outline our project.

The central theme will be “Europe without Christ?” By presenting our 7 Yeses, we aim at inspiring a reflection upon the contribution we could provide toward a sustainable Europe.

We live in Carinthia which is a crossroads of Europe and where three nations feel at home. For centuries there were here Romans, Slavs  and German tribes. For this reason we have invited guests from Lublin, Trieste and Graz so as to meet together and share our experiences.

On May 3, 2019, we shall have the opportunity to celebrate a journey of relationships and harmony, which resulted in 70 years of peace. Together we will be able to appreciate how the diversity of nations in Europe enriches us.

While celebrating our “Europe Day”, we want to show our gratitude for all this and to express our hope for a peaceful future.

Manfred and Fini Wieser, team of Together for Europe, Carinthia  

Download the invitation here (available only in German)

KLAGENFURT Europa Einheit In Vielfalt - Flyer_2019 (1.4 MB)

Works in progress in Padua

Those who, last November, participated at the meeting of the Friends of Together for Europe have enthused us with what they experienced and with future projects.

We are all looking forward to organize a Prayer Vigil to be held to mark May 9, Europe Day. From the very first contacts we were surprised to find so much interest for the idea: in fact, new interested groups have been approached and a new range of relationships has been established.

The first step was to approach the local Church so as to create the May 9 event in synergy. Then we contacted the priest who runs the University Centre and who also coordinates the “Biblical Festival” which is scheduled for May 10 – 12. We were warmly welcomed, seeing that the theme of the event is “The City and Citizenship”: indeed, Europe was a theme already on the program and thus we proposed to include the Prayer Vigil of Together for Europe in the program of the Festival.

Moreover, we have been asked to find an expert on Europe to address an event organized for young people, consisting of a photographic competition, with prizes, for secondary school students in Padua and its province with the theme: “Never without the other”.

The responsible for the Festival has also asked us to show a short video which narrates the history of Together for Europe during the evening dedicated to Europe.

We spoke to the person responsible for the Ministry with Migrants, and we discovered an unknown reality: in the Diocese of Padua there are 110.000 migrants; more than half are Christian, and these are ministered to by priests coming from their native Countries. We met 12 priests from India, Sri Lanka, China and Eastern Europe, and they all welcomed the idea of the Prayer Vigil and the evening dedicated to Europe. We never imagined that, in a poor rectory, we would be speaking to such a group of persons coming from so many parts of the world!

Also, we met a Rumanian Orthodox priest who chairs the Ecumenical Council of Churches: he was extremely pleased that the event will be part of a “Biblical Festival”, because, as he said, “it is the Bible that unites us all”.

Later, we met almost all the members of the Ecumenical Council: the persons representing the Greek Orthodox, the Rumanian Orthodox, the Methodist and the Lutheran Churches. With them it was decided to hold the Prayer Vigil on May 9, as an opening of the Biblical Festival; it will be held in the church of St Sophia, a most beautiful Romanic church in Padua.

All the groups we contacted form part of the preparatory commission of the Prayer Vigil (now enhanced as international and ecumenical). After the Prayer Vigil, during a convivial gathering, typical dishes from various Countries will be served.

The Team of Together for Europe in Padua

Seeking together

20 years of Together for Europe: 7 – 9 November 2019 in Ottmaring and Augsburg / Germany. Visit of the regional Bishop Axel Piper

Toward the end of February, 16 representatives of Together for Europe met in Ottmaring to prepare the meeting of the ‘Friends’ which is scheduled for 7 – 9 November 2019. This international network came about 20 years ago; this provides a good enough motive to remember the early steps and to develop further prospects for the coming years.

Axel Piper, who has been regional Bishop of the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Augusta and Svevia since January 1, 2019, made his first visit to the Ecumenical Centre of Ottmaring. On that occasion he met Gerhard Pross, Ilona Toth, Herbert Lauenroth and Diego Goller, besides members of the preparation team  of Together for Europe, and this allowed the Bishop to have a better understanding of the initiative.

Based on his experience Bishop Piper’s vision of the Church is: not structures, but “persons who are seeking together”. At the same time, Piper says that “it is sufficient to be curious – in the best meaning of the word”. Thus, he is eager to fulfil his new assignment, “to know new persons, new challenges and to contribute toward a new form and a new beginning in the Church and society”. Therefore, he found the initiative Together for Europe “quite interesting”.

Indeed, he has already booked himself for the meeting of the ‘Friends of Together for Europe’ (7 – 9 November 2019).

Beatriz Lauenroth

Foto: © Maria Kny

Vienna: Citizens of Europe are getting ready ‘together’

Different important events are taking place from 19 March to 5 May at various locations in the Austrian capital.  The aim is to give citizens and parliamentarians the opportunity to discuss politics together in a constructive way in view of the forthcoming European elections.

What do our friends in Vienna have in their hearts?

“The current problems regarding the politics, economics and structure of the European Union concern all of us.  As members of Together for Europe we feel compelled to add our voices to the debate on the continent’s future by putting in practice “our vocation for unity and our Culture of Togetherness”.  We are convinced that the gift of “unity in diversity” we received in the moving process of reconciliation is God’s response to the needs of our time.  With this confidence we wish to invite citizens, experts and Members of the European Parliament to dialogue together and bear positive witness to the politics of reconciliation and solidarity.”

The topics selected for discussion are very stimulating:

  • Erasmus – shaping Europe
  • Judaism in Europe today – old and new anti-Semitism
  • Migrants and the homeland
  • “Word and bread” – the social dimension

The conclusive evening will be celebrated on 11 April in the “House of the European Union” where amongst other things we will collect and present messages from the various political and ecclesiastical representatives who were present at the different meetings.

An ecumenical service of prayers for Europe will be held on 5 May in a church in the city centre.

Each meeting will have a different format and be held at a different location.  There will be different movements and experts, different topics for discussion and different ways to get involved but beneath it all is a shared desire not to miss the opportunity to say: TOGETHER we can!

Let us pray that many others will be inspired by Vienna’s example.

Taken from the invitation: A Prayer for Europe (Carlo Maria Martini) 

Father of mankind,  Lord of History,
Look upon this continent to which you sent
philosophers, lawgivers and people endowed with wisdom,
precursors of that faith in your Son, fallen and risen.

Look at these people evangelized by Peter and Paul,
by prophets, monks and saints.
Look at these regions drenched in the blood of martyrs,
moved by the voice of reformers.
Look at these people linked by so many bonds and ties,
yet divided by hatred and war.

Assist us in committing ourselves to a Europe of the Spirit
founded not just on economic treaties,
but also on values which are human and eternal;
a Europe capable of ethnic and ecumenical reconciliations,
quick to welcome the stranger, respectful of human dignity.

Give us confidence to see it as our duty
to encourage and promote understanding between peoples,
which provides for all continents justice and bread,
liberty and peace.

 

Download the invitation here (available only in German)

Miteinander Für Europa - Einladung Wien (2.1 MB)

Europe – it is our business

Little examples of synergy between Movements and “pro Europe” initiatives

‘Together for’ in Dresden

We are a little group of the Focolare Movement in Dresden.  A few months ago, in the city’s main square, we were able to speak to 200 people about universal fraternity, presenting the thoughts of Chiara Lubich that she had addressed to 700  mayors from Europe gathered together in Innsbruck in 2001.  We were with other organisers including “Pulse of Europe”, an initiative which is open to all whose aim is to live together for a united democratic Europe. Each month this organisation puts together a programme to make people aware of their aims, emphasizing peace and all the values on which Europe is based.  That ‘spiritual fraternity’ which also connects us through the person of Chiara who has spread the values of universal fraternity in people all over the world was very evident, also in view of the great project of building a united Europe.

One of those responsible for the young people of the dioceses, a Jesuit, hearing about our collaboration, strongly encouraged us: “Go ahead! You can make your contribution without complication.  I really ask this for you: go ahead with courage, others are too afraid!” Yes, we are few but we must and can take the new path that He shows us!  We are very happy to have known the people of “Pulse of Europe”, and they know that we support them.  We can say this sincerely: their business, their great challenge is also ours.

Monika Scheidler, Ilse Fehr

The Neocatecumenal Way celebrates its 40th anniversary in Slovenia. It’s the opportunity to celebrate within the big family of the Movements. 

On first of September, the Neocatecumenal Way in Slovenia celebrated the 40th anniversary of its presence in the country.  Representatives from other movements, like Couples for Christ, Movimento Cammino (Pot), Focolare Movement, Renewal in the Holy Spirit and the Emmanuel Community celebrated with them.  The celebration was really well prepared with a solemn mass, concelebrated with 5 bishops and at the end an agape which gave time and space for fraternal relationships and sharing.  The visit for this anniversary of the first Neocatecumenal itinerants of Italy who had brought this spirit to Slovenia 40 years ago, was a particular gift. It was an opportunity to build real and deep relationships.  We were welcomed very warmly in the hall and the present Movements were named as some of the special guests.

The network of different Movements in Slovenia has been strengthened over all these years also thanks to the reciprocal help and hospitality that, for example, the Focolare Movement has been able to offer in its Mariapolis Centre in Planina for 200 Ukrainians of the Neocatecumenal Way that travelling to Rome and back were able to stop and take rest there. With joy next week 80 Ukrainians will be hosted again on their way to the Eternal City. For those who are travelling towards Italy we are at a strategic point and we are also happy to offer the centre for sharing between the Movements.

Pavel and Marjana Snoj, Slovenia

Photos: private

Looking ahead

In 2019 Elections will be held for the European Parliament. Two weeks earlier, on May 9th, “Europe Day” will be celebrated. If we want to give our contribution to the establishment of a lively Europa with a promising future, we have to get started in time in the various countries and cities.

It seems that Together for Europe is more relevant than ever today, at a time when our continent is facing many challenges. We are convinced that God did not raise this network  without a reason.

Europe is on everyone’s lips. But how will it be possible to make our contribution as Christians in the construction of today’s Europe? Our possibilities are limited. And yet it’s the small, but creative and motivated, minorities that can make a difference and contribute to change. For this reason it will be important that we leave our charisms to unfold: Our vocation of unity, our culture of “Togetherness” is today more necessary than ever.

9 May – Europe Day

At the meeting of the ‘Friends of Together for Europe’ in Vienna in 2017, the intent of Jeff Fountain (Netherlands) and of the Italian group, to make May 9th, Day of Europe, a lively event has given rise to much interest. This year, events have already taken place in some regions.

For 2019 it seems important to start including this date in our annual program, to gather locally as Movements and Communities and explore the possibilities of this day. It could also be useful to include other initiatives that are committed to a “Togetherness” in Europe. Two weeks later elections for the European Parliament will take place; there will certainly be favorable pressures and creative ideas. Therefore, in 2019 there is an added value: May 9th should be a day of joy, of celebration, of commitment and of prayer!

Europe needs our prayer.

In addition to the impulses and initiatives already launched , we see our contribution to Europe in prayer as well. After our initiatives in the wake of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, on March 24, 2017, we saw its transforming force.  We trust that much will move in heaven and on earth when we pray together in unity for our Continent.

Gerhard Proß, Diego Goller, P. Heinrich Walter

See also: Involve your city>  

Foto: ©Ursel Haaf – www.urselhaaf.de

Small prophetic steps for Europe

We have experienced many times that European unity is not a utopia and does not solely depend on institutions. European unity is generated through encounters between people: encounters without prejudices, with a willingness to uncover the riches in the other which brings us to discover, surprisingly, our own identity in deeper way.

That is what happened on 3rd June during the visit of Ljubljana (Slovenia) by sixteen representatives of Together for Europe from the Styria and Carinthia regions of Austria. The guests were members of different Ecclesial Movements and Communities such as Schoenstatt Movement, Focolare Movement, Charismatic Renewal, Freie Christengemeinde and Kloster Wernberg.

The visit began with a morning tour of the historical centre of Ljubljana led by a cultural expert, Silvester Gaberscek. A typical Slovenian picnic followed with fifteen members of different Slovenian Movements and Communities. There were beautiful moments of brotherly and sisterly friendship among the participants that gave a taste of what a united Europe could look like.

The visit continued with a programme in one of the local halls with a meeting which opened with some traditional Slovenian songs. The participants introduced themselves and shared their spiritual experience as well as their commitment and concrete initiatives in different areas (such as refugee welcome, youth initiatives aimed at citizen bonding, pro-family referendum initiatives). There were also moments of prayer as well as musical interludes. The Austrian guests asked to learn how to sing a prayer in Slovenian. We all felt encouraged and full of enthusiasm to keep working for unity in Europe.

That evening we parted mutually enriched and with the intention to meet as often as possible. We are delighted to have that opportunity next November in Prague.

Mariana and Pavel Snoj, Coordinators of Together for Europe in Slovenia

Fragments from Europe Day 2018

In the days before and after 9th May, a spirit of creativity and imagination animated Europe for the occasion of Europe Day 2018. Let us take a short tour of some of the places and initiatives associated with this celebration.

In Bratislava (Slovakia), apart from a meeting attended by 120 people, an evening dedicated to youth took place with the objective of exchanging ideas on a more united Europe and ways of becoming instruments of dialogue and understanding for others.

In Trent (Italy) the Movements – Friends of TFE met on 9th May to prepare for an open meeting which was held on May 21st with a programme built around the DVD recording from TFE event ‘Munich 2016’.

In Belgium three Movements used this opportunity to meet and get to know each other better.

In Milan’s Ambrosianeum (Italy) the Movements involved in TFE attended a reading of Robert Schuman’s essay “For Europe”.

In Zagreb (Croatia), forty members from Charismatic Renewal, the Schoenstatt Movement, Ignigo, Ecumenical Forum, the Focolare Movement as well as representatives of the Baptist Church and one of the Free Churches met together to pray for Europe and to listen to a reflection by American actress Kathleen Ann Thompson. The piece she performed, entitled “Is it right?” inspired by D. Bonhoeffer, the Scriptures and Thompson’s personal experience showed the Christian response to suffering.

In response to an invitation launched last November in Vienna offering formation on Europe to young people, the Movements of TFE of Slovenia visited a catholic secondary school in Ljubljana, where they met 60 third year students (all around 18 years of age). In a two-hour session they spoke about the Founding Fathers of Europe (Schuman, De Gasperi and Adenauer) as well as about the journey of TFE which was presented through experiences of personal commitment. The session was met by great interest by the students and their teacher. Another initiative of the Slovenian Committee of TFE was a letter addressed to the President of Slovenia in which the committee introduced TFE Network and proposed a collaboration on the occasion of the 9th May celebrations. Whilst awaiting his response, the Committee went ahead and staged a sizable public event in Ljubljana City Centre.

In Esslingen (Germany) City Major Dr. Jürgen Zieger, was invited to an event held by TFE. The Major spoke about Europe, addressing in particular the historical development of the Union and some specific local situations. Twinnings among cities following the catastrophe of World War II, stood out as an example of conciliatory peace in action. The enormous importance of Europe for Germany as a whole and for the city of Esslingen itself was clearly evident in all the addresses. Together for EuropeYES to Europe was emphasised in the presentation of TFE activities and ‘Munich 2016’ video. After a joint prayer for Europe, participants shared a moment of conversation around the table with French wine and Italian focaccia bread.

In Rome (Italy), the local committee of TFE celebrated 9th May with a focus on commemorating Schumann’s Declaration. This year, 15 Movements, Communities and Associations extended an open invitation to a catholic mass held in the church of St. Mark the Evangelist in Campidoglio. Auxiliary bishop Mons. Gianrico Ruzza who concelebrated with a number of priests from different Movements invited the participants to value their European roots echoing Pope Francis. The day before the solemn mass, a high-level conference was held in the Vatican by an Italian voluntary group “Civiltà dell’Amore” and the NetOne communication network (www.netone.org) on the topic of disarmament and the safeguarding of creation (one of the topics of the Munich Congress 2016).

Europe Day was celebrated in Paris (France) on May 12th outside the Municipal Hall, in partnership with the “Maison de l’Europe” (House of Europe) where Together for Europe Network with other associations and bodies set up a “Village of Europe”. This event took place in the very heart of civic life and the majority of participants were young people. Together for Europe was represented at a stand, and visited by among others the Mayor of Paris, Ms Hidalgo and the Minister for European Affairs, Ms Nathalie Loiseau who showed a keen interest in the Network’s vision and initiatives.

In the Netherlands, three churches of Utrecht (Roman Catholic, Vetero-Catholic and Protestant Church) organised together a moment of prayer (Europe Day Vesper) in Utrecht Cathedral, followed by a symposium entitled: “Europe? Impulse to connect!”. As with other social institutions, the Churches felt compelled to begin a reflection on the state of the Continent, which, despite the recent re-emerging of difference and autonomies, carries within it seeds of collaboration. the presence of political and cultural figures facilitated a dialogue, signalling that ‘Together’ – a commitment to work together – is Europe’s only chance.

Who knows how many initiatives are happening all over Europe that we do not even hear about!

by Ada Guazzo

Slovenia: dialogue among Movements

The 1st February was a special occasion for all involved in Together for Europe in Slovenia. For the very first time, representatives of various Movements presented Together for Europe in the Slovenian Parliament.

The delegation received a warm welcome from Jožef Horvat, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and his colleagues. Hungarian born Pal Toth who is professor of communication and a specialist in Western-Eastern relationships spoke about tensions between Eastern and Western Europe, and the role of Together for Europe in helping to resolve them. The Chair asked all present including former Minister for Culture to uphold our ideas. Mr Horvat and his colleagues expressed their gratitude for our visit and their appreciation for many of our ideas. To mark Europe Day the Committee undertook to propose to the Slovenian Parliament a new national holiday – Day of Europe –on May 9th, in place of another existing national holiday.

Later that day, representatives of the Movements met with Mons. Stanislav Zore Archbishop of Ljubljana and with Pal Toth to share impressions from a meeting of Friends of Together for Europe held last November. The ecumenical prayer in St. Stephen’s Cathedral which opened the Friends’ meeting stood out as an experience which encouraged one and all to making tangible steps towards greater reconciliation throughout Slovenia. Pal Toth presented a talk entitled “Culture of encounter between Eastern and Western Europe”; a contribution by Prof. Igor Bahovec highlighted the importance of finding spaces for dialogue and encounter, as well as that of rediscovering European roots in the work of our Movements’ founders and how Movements, along with other people of good will, can offer solutions to a ‘Europe of the Spirit’.

A 5-step programme proposed to be rolled out over the next few years received very positive feedback. Members of different Movements and Communities not only have one but two “vocations”: besides working for our own Movements we are also called to share a journey together. Archbishop Zore encouraged us to meet together regularly, because only as one community can we bear fruit, only together can we witness to Christianity according to Jesus’s invocation that ‘all may be one’ (John 17:21).

It was natural to solemnly renew the Pact of mutual love. The evening continued with questions, answers and proposals; an interview was recorded for the radio. Our relationships and resolutions were strengthened through fraternal dialogue. As someone remarked, a spark of enthusiasm was lit. Jesus truly guided our steps bringing us ever closer to a full communion and a more fruitful collaboration for Europe.

Pavel and Marjana Snoj

 

A Culture of Togetherness becomes clear

Saturday, December 9th, YMCA-Building in Wuerzburg: about 100 people from nearly 50 initiatives, communities and movements – which are active in Germany and connected in the network Together for Europe – come together for their annual national meeting.  

“Together – how otherwise?” This is the headline that summarizes for me for what we experienced on this day in Würzburg. Such a long way travelled together that has brought out what unites us and how much power reconciled togetherness has! “Indeed a „Culture of Togetherness“ becomes clear, and I wish with all of my heart that it may gain ground in our communities, in our country and in the whole of Europe”. That was how, Sr. Nicole Grochowina from Christusbruderschaft Selbitz summarized her impression of the day. And she continued: “Therefore I am fully in favor of continuing to visit each other and go beyond our borders; we should find new friends in east and west and go on to shape togetherness throughout Europe – and be enriched by this”.

Theme of the Day

Besides a review of experiences in Together for Europe 18 years after it began, this year the question about the future way forward for the ecumenical network was the focus of our shared thinking.

„Unity among the people of God is a challenge for the future of Together for Europe, especially on how east and west Europe can come together more”, Gerhard Pross reported from the recent meeting of the European group of “Friends” of Together for Europe in Vienna.

Experience of Togetherness

Many of the participants spontaneously reported about their positive experiences during the commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the reformation. There were also good experiences with “Prayer for Europe” on the occasion of 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome and after the Reconciliation Service between the Protestant and Catholic Church in Hildesheim. Roswitha Fuerg, from the Focolare-Movement in Solingen was „impressed by the openness and depth in Together for Europe that has grown over the years”.  The spontaneous reports of the participants showed how God leads people of different denominations and communities to get involved in this work for unity in many places“.

Fruits of Together for Europe after 18 years

Using the image of a growing tree, Sr. M. Vernita Weiss from the Schönstatt Movement made us envisage the fruits of Together for Europe after 18 years. She mentioned the deep roots from which a fruitful tree for the unity of Europe has grown and is growing.

Europe in the midst of challenges – A Culture of Togetherness

Regarding a Europe facing a lot of challenges from the political point of view, Gerhard Pross considered the task of Together for Europe first of all as living togetherness and mainly involving oneself in prayer for Europe.  But a discernment of spirits is also required. „At a time, when the old negative spirits that led Europe repeatedly into disasters are coming up again, we say our No to nationalism and state more clearly our Yes to the Gospel, to reconciliation and to love (…). We say Yes to a culture of relationships and covenants – No to simplistic and ‘one size fits all’ solutions. (see also the address by Gerhard Pross in Rom, 24.3.2017 

Steps towards the Future

Regarding the next steps, the participants shared the suggestions which had been developed during the annual meeting of the “Friends” of Together for Europe in Vienna. Especially highlighted were for example, encounters and mutual opportunities to meet and get to know each other with partners in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the idea to plan May 9th (already considered Europe Day) in 2018 and 2019 as a “Together for Europe Day” in the cities and regions.

„We felt a deep atmosphere of mutual appreciation and respect, but also of truth“, said Elisabeth and Hans-Georg Hagmann from Schönstatt movement describing their impressions. Johannes Golling, Leader of Julius-Schniewind-Haus e.V. (house of spirituality), summed up his experience of the day: „Meeting and visiting each other, making friends, listening to each other and being open to what is holy for the other person – that developed a dynamic exchange in the past which was illustrated today by plenty of examples”.

See also the detailed report on the German homepage> 

Text and photo: Heinrich Brehm

Juntos por México

Network TOGETHER beyond the ocean

The name of the network – Together for Mexico – encompasses a lot. Whilst it may not be possible to grasp the full meaning of the “National Union of Catholic Movements” of Mexico, as the second National Meeting of Juntos por México (JXM), held in the city of Querétaro, from 6th to 8th October 2017 demonstrates, it can be experienced. 60 or more Ecclesial Movements, Associations of lay people, Catholic institutions, representatives of the Council from more than 90 dioceses of Mexico (a significant majority of dioceses in Mexico), approximately 4,700 people, young and old all “together for…” a brotherly Mexico, a society enlightened, healed and regenerated by the Gospel, that is, by Love. A space of dialogue and communion was created, to bring ahead an evangelisation within the Church to “go out together” and work in building a new society.

The concluding Manifesto launched at the end of the event and ratified by the signatures of the participants (and mounted on a 20m banner) read: “We aspire to be a new people. Wherever we come together and meet, called by the One who invites us to serve and work in love of neighbour, we will work to lay seeds and inspire others with a vision of a Mexico where there is more solidarity in its civic values, where there is more unity in its cultural diversity, a country that decisively promotes the human person.

As pinpointed by Carlos Valle e Esther Pérez, the national responsible for JXM on the occasion of the first official press conference, this is not just a vague aspiration but is already confirmed by the life and witness of many. The fundamental role of communion, unity, need for reflexion and the role of women were highlighted. The participants among whose numbers was also Mons. Faustino Armendáriz, Bishop of the diocese of Querétaro, stressed the role of the laity in any civil action that upholds family values and promotes social justice.

The theme of Family was also central to the message prepared for the meeting by Pope Francis, which was aimed at supporting and facilitating initiatives for the family, for unity and for life, and which expressed a wish for “an abundance of fruits so that Mexican society can become an authentic family in which no one feels excluded, where everyone can experience in their lives God’s tender closeness”.

Celebration, songs, reflections, workshops – a varied programme aimed at setting a course towards fulfilling the slogan: “Lay people, let us go out together to renew the world. The time is now!”

The earthquake which hit the country between 7th and 19th September and left a trail of destruction, also created a sense of solidarity which blossomed spontaneously and powerfully in the most affected areas. This solidarity showed the “real self” of the Mexican people and echoed a call that this sense of self shine out not only in situations of emergency, but also in the daily life of society.

The 12 workshops covered many important areas of social renewal including: economics, politics, education, migration, culture of legality (vs. social corruption), communication, ecology, social volunteering, youth, family, social fabric, rebuilding of peace and the social doctrine of the Church.

A new initiative was also launched, spearheaded by a network of volunteers who will work to connect various existing voluntary social programmes promoted by the Movements. The social areas where these programmes take place are many and different – hence the network’s task to open up new possibilities for mutual collaboration, thereby increasing the possibility for participation and ultimately increasing the positive impact in Mexican society.

Raffaele Massolin

The Swiss Coordination team and “the brother” Nicolas of Flue

The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, and the 600th of Nicolas of Flue – what do these two commemorations mean to us today? 260 followers of the Swiss network of Together for Europe, belonging to many different Churches, met on 9th of September to reflect together on this topic in the Flueli-Ranft Hall, where “brother Nicola” lived.

“What is the significance of the life and work of Nicola of Flue for us personally, for our Churches, our Communities, and for our network of Together for Europe?” – this was the central question of our convention.

The participants hailed from all parts of Switzerland, representing 30 Christian Movements and Communities. The meeting was planned and organised together by the members of the Swiss TfE Coordination Team (from 10 Movements and Communities).  Since the very beginning of the meeting it became clear that the encounter and mutual exchange of ideas was what everyone came for. The hall soon filled with many enthusiastic groups engrossed in dialogue.

The programme of the meeting varied from four short talks (representing different approaches to the life and work of Nicola of Flue), to a choir specially assembled for the event, a theatrical representation of “brother” Nicola’s prayer, a round table discussion which was profound and well attended.

Pastor Geri Keller and Roland Groebli, both experts on Nicola of Flue, Fr. Raffael Rieger of Schoenstatt, representative of the Swiss TfE Coordination Team, and Alisha Furer, historian and a representative of the youth held the round table which lasted for an hour. Selomie Zuercher of the “Jahu” Community of Bienne, a student of history, chaired this moment of dialogue. Through quotations from brother Nicola, the participants were invited to express their own experiences and limitations: “What stops me from opening up towards people of different denominations or religions? What helps me to do so? Do I have experiences of such “togetherness” to share? These and other inputs were an invitation to fight prejudice and to make the first steps, even in the simple day-to-day gestures, such as, for example in a shared bus journey to work.”

The fascination with brother Nicola is due among other things to his many identities: Nicola the mystic, the mediator, the peasant, the politician, the husband, the father and the spiritual director. In brief: Nicola the man, or brother Nicola, as one who is very close to people, and very close to God.

A variety of participants, drawn in in the first place by their interest for Nicola of Flue, expressed their enthusiasm for having met the network of Together for Europe. As one person said: “Thank you for your commitment to building TOGETHERNESS in Europe! I am also part of it now!”

Written by Elisabeth Reusser

For further information please visit the Swiss web site of Together for Europe: //miteinander-wie-sonst.ch/miteinander/aktuelles

Welcome to Vienna!

WILLKOMMEN, BENVENUTI, WELCOME, VITAJTE, BIENVENUE…

The group „Friends of Together for Europe” will meet in Vienna.

We are looking forward to this being a great, profound, visible, inviting, serene and European event held Together.

The TfE Coordination Team in Vienna has reflected and consulted at length with the International Steering Committee in preparation for this meeting. Our focus recently has been preparations for the opening of the meeting on 9th November in St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) which will take the format of an ecumenical prayer. We have picked a location in the centre of Vienna and have invited public figures to attend. The Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Schönborn has confirmed his participation while the mayor of Vienna issued an invitation to an “Agape” to follow after the liturgy.

“9th November, Stephansdom – you are coming, aren’t you?” – everyone we speak to is eagerly looking forward to the event.

Will we succeed in filling the Stephansdom Cathedral? We entrust this aspiration in the spirit of what Chiara Lubich used call: “The music sheet already written in heaven”.

Coordination Team of TfE, Vienna 


DOWNLOAD THE INVITATION>

60. Jahrestag Römische Verträge /Kroatien

Am 7. Juni haben wir endlich unser Miteinander – Gebet für Europa durchführen können, das von 5 Gemeinschaften vorbereitet wurde. Es waren etwa 150 Personen anwesend, die in einer tiefen Atmosphäre der Gemeinschaft für die Zukunft Europas gebetet haben.

Hanny Knüsel

60 ans du Traités de Rome /Castres (France)

Pour le présent et l’avenir de l’Europe, Castres le 24 mars 2017

Mgr Georges Pontier, le 28 mars 2017, dans son discours d’ouverture de l’Assemblée plénière des évêques de France à Lourdes, a encouragé à “regarder l’avenir de l’Europe avec confiance”: “Ce samedi 25 mars dernier, se fêtait à Rome le soixantième anniversaire de la signature des traités de Rome, acte fondateur de l’Union européenne. La veille, le Pape François en a reçu les 27 chefs d’État. Dans un discours apprécié, il les a encouragés dans leurs responsabilités en rappelant ce qui a guidé les pères fondateurs « les piliers sur lesquels ils ont voulu édifier la communauté économique européenne et que j’ai déjà rappelés : la centralité de l’homme, une solidarité effective, l’ouverture au monde, la poursuite de la paix et du développement, l’ouverture à l’avenir… L’Europe retrouve l’espérance dans la solidarité qui est aussi le plus efficace antidote contre les populismes modernes ». Beaucoup de voix s’expriment pour que l’Europe retrouve cet esprit solidaire qui a présidé à son histoire.

A l’heure où le Pape François s’adressait aux chefs d’Etat, les Tarnais étaient invités à prier pour l’Europe en l’église St-Jean/St-Louis de Castres ou à s’y unir par le cœur. Cette initiative était promue par le Service diocésain de la Mission universelle de l’Eglise, sous l’impulsion des Mouvements Focolari et Vivre et Aimer, membres du réseau Ensemble pour l’Europe (formé de quelque 300 communautés et mouvements chrétiens)“Ce soir, une Veillée de prière œcuménique et internationale aura lieu à Rome en la Basilique des Saints-Apôtres, à l’initiative du réseau Ensemble pour l’Europe. En écho à cette célébration, des soirées de prière auront lieu à Bruxelles, à Paris, et dans bien d’autres villes européennes… Au moment où l’Europe traverse une période difficile, entre peur de l’avenir et peur de l’étranger, nous vous invitons à prier, nous aussi à Castres, pour une Europe qui redécouvre sa véritable identité dans la rencontre avec l’autre. »

Des lectures bibliques ont conduit le recueillement, amenant chacun à un questionnement intérieur : « Écoutons la Parole de Dieu, puis laissons-La retentir en nous dans le silence de l’Adoration. D’abord dans le Livre d’Isaïe au chapitre 2 (v. 3-5). ‘Jean Monnet, Robert Schumann, Konrad Adenauer et Alcide de Gasperi, les pères fondateurs de l’Europe avaient tant souffert de la guerre… Méditons en silence. Je suis chrétien. Est-ce que je pose des actes de paix ?… dans ma famille ?… dans mes rapports de voisinage et de travail ?… Lors de rencontres (en paroisse, dans la vie sociale…)?

Ecoutons la Parole de Dieu dans l’Évangile selon Saint Matthieu au chapitre 5 (v. 12-16).‘ Je suis chrétien. Est-ce que j’essaie d’être sel dans le bout de terre européenne que j’habite ? Comment est-ce que je vis en témoin de lumière dans mon quartier, dans mes lieux d’engagement et de loisir ?’

Ecoutons la Parole de Dieu dans les Actes des Apôtres au chapitre 16 (9-10).‘ Je suis chrétien. Est-ce que j’accueille celui qui est différent ? Est-ce que je vois un frère à aider, en celui qui est étranger, qu’il soit d’un autre pays européen ou d’un autre continent ?’

Chacun a ensuite reçu le drapeau de l’un des pays européens et s’est engagé à prier avec persévérance pour cette nation.

R-L Coureau

60º Trattati di Roma /Flash da città italiane

Viterbo

A Viterbo, il 17 marzo 2017,  120 persone hanno realizzato la prima veglia internazionale ed ecumenica per l’Europa presso la chiesa di S. Murialdo, sostenuta dal  Consiglio Diocesano dei laici, con la partecipazione anche di una predicatrice valdese e del parroco romeno ortodosso, accompagnato da alcuni parrocchiani.

Un messaggio della Segreteria Internazionale di Insieme per l’Europa ha creato un legame con tutte le altre veglie.

Nel programma, di rilievo l’omelia del Vescovo, S.E. Mons. Lino Fumagalli sulle radici cristiane dell’Europa e l’esempio di un frutto attuale di quelle ‘radici’: la testimonianza presentata da un membro dell’Associazione Papa Giovanni XXIII, di accoglienza e accompagnamento nei campi profughi ai confini tra Libano e Siria, per la collaborazione di più organizzazioni.

Parma

Parma: organizzatori della veglia per l’Europa nuovi e antichi carismi (es. Associazione Teilhard de Chardin, Mov. dei Focolari e missionarie Saveriane, che hanno ospitato l’incontro, in una sala riunioni gremita), con coinvolgimento della Comunità Baha’i, del gruppo yoga Svarupananda e di membri dei ”Musulmani per il dialogo”. Si è riflettuto sull’unità e la pace fra gli Stati e sul dialogo fra le religioni. Ha parlato della veglia un articolo di Laura Caffagnini nel settimanale di Parma, del 30 marzo: Vita-Nuova_Parma.pdf

Siena

A Siena  già il  23.3.2017, si è realizzata una veglia ecumenica di preghiera per il 60° anniversario dei Trattati di Roma, col contributo di vari Movimenti e Comunità cattoliche, attive a Siena, che hanno coinvolto anche rappresentanti della Chiesa Anglicana e della Chiesa Ortodossa. L’incontro, con una buona partecipazione di gente, si è  svolto nella chiesa di San Cristoforo ed è stato guidato dall’Arcivescovo, Mons. Antonio Buoncristiani, presente anche il Professor Paolo Nardi, Priore generale dell’Associazione Internazionale dei Caterinati.

Foggia

Alla veglia ecumenica di Foggia, organizzata da alcuni Movimenti cattolici (fra cui Rinnovamento nello Spirito, Neocatecumenali e Focolari) hanno partecipato i Valdesi, alcuni Pentecostali, un Ortodosso. Espressivo il commento da parte del Consiglio Ecumenico di Foggia: “INSIEME PER L’EUROPA”: bellissima serata di preghiera e di riflessione, nella quale i rappresentanti delle confessioni cristiane hanno testimoniato, attraverso la loro riflessione spirituale su passi della Bibbia, che comunione, riconciliazione e unità sono possibili ancora oggi in Europa. “Insieme per l’Europa” è una forza di coesione e traduce i valori base del cristianesimo in risposta concreta alle sfide di un continente in crisi.

Varazze

Anche a Varazze (Savona) ci si è voluti associare alle veglie organizzate da Insieme per l’Europa, organizzando il 25 marzo una preghiera, con la celebrazione dei Vespri, ad iniziativa della Presidente dell’Associazione Internazionale dei Caterinati, Marina  Delfino. Erano presenti, insieme ad un buon numero di laici, la priora del terz’Ordine Domenicano e il priore, padre Daniele Mazzoleni, con alcuni frati.

a cura di Ada Maria Guazzo

Slovenia: Veglie in 17 località e servizio TV nazionale

Ora è un tempo giusto perché l’Europa si rinnovi

In Slovenia si sono svolte veglie di preghiera per l’Europa in 17 città e paesi. Diversi luoghi hanno visto la partecipazioni di Vescovi, come a Ljubljana, l’arcivescovo Stanislav Zore, a Strunjan, Il vescovo Jurij Bizjak, nella diocesi di Celje, il vescovo. Stanislav Lipovšek, a Novo Mesto il vescovo, Andrej Glavan.

L’iniziativa è stata accolta e seguita dai media. Nel giornale cattolico nazionale “Družina” (La famiglia), con tiratura di oltre 30.000 copie, è uscito un articolo con il titolo: “Per l ‘Europa dello Spirito, vieni ed aiutaci”.

La settimana prima delle varie iniziative, alla radio cattolica nazionale “Radio Ognjišče”, molto ascoltata in Slovenia, varie volte al giorno è stata data la notizia di questo avvenimento. Diverse le interviste, tra cui quella con il comitato nazionale di Insieme per l’Europa.

Nella città di Strunjan, la chiesa era piena dalle ore 18 della sera del 24 marzo fino alle ore 9 del giorno successivo. Il coro era composto da giovani di diversi Movimenti. Tutto molto solenne e partecipato, tanto che la TV nazionale slovena, canale 1, ha scelto di mandare in onda un servizio “Orizzonti dello Spirito” (link della trasmissione).

//4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/obzorja-duha/174463819

Testo Trasmissione TV dallo Sloveno (13.9 KB, 645 downloads)

60º Trattati di Roma /Matera (Italia)

Una tappa importante a Matera

Un’altra tappa importante del cammino ecumenico a Matera è stato l’aver aderito alla iniziativa internazionale di Insieme per l’Europa che – in occasione dei 60 anni dalla firma dei trattati di Roma, che hanno istituito l’Unione Europea – ha proposto a Roma e in molte città europee momenti di preghiera e riflessione.

L’idea è stata proposta al gruppo ecumenico di Matera, che l’ha accolta con entusiasmo, ravvisandovi una ulteriore occasione per poter innanzitutto crescere nel dialogo fra noi e poi per offrire insieme un importante momento di riflessione e testimonianza di esperienze positive alla città e alle istituzioni nel nostro territorio. Si è voluto dare un taglio laico all’iniziativa, permettendo anche a non cristiani e non credenti di potersi ritrovare in ciò che abbiamo proposto.

L’incontro, realizzato il 25 marzo, nella parrocchia Maria Madre della Chiesa, è iniziato con il video del Gen Verde “Io credo nel noi”, evidenziando che l’unità nella diversità – che sperimentiamo profondamente nel gruppo ecumenico – è ciò che sta alla base del cammino ‘insieme’ intrapreso da anni.

Con il primo intervento, è stata presentata la storia dell’Unione europea nei suoi tratti più salienti, evidenziando quali sono stati gli ideali e l’anelito che ha guidato i padri fondatori, cosa è rimasto oggi di quegli ideali, quali sono le prospettive attuali e le sfide che ci interpellano. Questo momento è stato affidato a Camilla Spada, docente di Storia e Filosofia  e ad Achille Spada, consigliere Regionale, che ha saputo – da amministratore – ben evidenziare problematiche politiche e culturali che oggi ci investono, ma anche porre l’accento sulla necessaria riscoperta e valorizzazione di quegli ideali umani di cui l’esperienza cristiana è stata portatrice in Europa.

E’ stata poi presentata l’esperienza di Insieme per l’Europa, come rete internazionale di circa 300 movimenti e comunità cristiane in Europa che liberamente vogliono costruire una “cultura di reciprocità”, basata su rapporti di comunione nel rispetto della diversità, e che da oltre 15 anni sperimentano che l’unità è possibile. E’ seguito il video di presentazione di Insieme per l’Europa.

Sono seguite alcune testimonianze di accoglienza e di integrazione realizzate in loco, per dare un segno di come singolarmente ed insieme si può essere costruttori della ‘nostra’ Europa. Giuseppe e Paola Montemurro, della comunità Battista, hanno raccontato come da mesi accolgono alcuni ragazzi africani migranti – minorenni senza più genitori –  giunti in un paese in provincia di Matera, andandoli a prendere nel fine settimana e ospitandoli nella loro casa, nella stanza dei loro figli oramai fuori per l’università. Li hanno inseriti nella scuola calcio di cui è responsabile Giuseppe, e stanno anche cercando loro un lavoro. Catia Caponero ha presentato l’esperienza dei “Corridoi umanitari” a cui collabora, insieme con esponenti della Comunità di Sant’Egidio,  di Comunione e Liberazione ed anche non credenti. Recentemente hanno accolto e seguono a Matera una famiglia proveniente dalla Siria.

L’incontro – durato circa 2 ore – si è concluso con un impegno per l’Europa, in cui, facendo proprie le parole del Card. Martini, si è voluto evidenziare la necessità di “lavorare per una Europa dello spirito, fondata non soltanto sugli accordi economici, ma anche su valori umani ed eterni”.

All’incontro hanno preso parte più di 80 persone; in tanti hanno detto di essere stati contenti per il taglio “laico” e universale dell’incontro, per le forti testimonianze ascoltate, per aver potuto conoscere la realtà di Insieme per l’Europa.

Negli organizzatori rimane la gioia di aver costruito un altro momento importante di condivisione e di unità non soltanto col gruppo ecumenico, ma anche con persone che hanno a cuore il “Bene comune”, certi che il don Gino Galante – pioniere del dialogo ecumenico a Matera e partito per il cielo pochi giorni prima dell’incontro – abbia contribuito…

Vedi anche articolo LOGOS_Matera_31.03.2017.pdf

 

Foto in alto della città di Matera di Luca Aless, CC BY-SA 4.0, //commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45529817

60º Trattati di Roma /Trento (Italia)

Veglia ecumenica per l’Europa, 24 marzo 2017, Chiesetta di Santa Chiara a Trento.

Erano presenti circa 100 persone, fra cui la teologa Milena Mariani, preside dell’ Istituto superiore di scienze religiose e, a nome del sindaco Andreatta, l’assessore Chiara Maule.

Nel programma, si sono alternati interventi, riflessioni, preghiere, canti e letture della Scrittura.

Molto apprezzato il contributo sugli ideali dei fondatori dell’Europa del Prof. Beppe Zorzi, (incaricato dal Presidente della Provincia Autonoma di Trento e del Trentino-Alto Adige, Ugo Rossi). Vedi in fondo il suo testo scaricabile.

Hanno collaborato alla preparazione 7 Movimenti ecclesiali di varie Chiese.

Il vicario generale della diocesi di Trento,  Mons. Marco Saiani, il padre ortodosso rumeno Joan Catalin e la signora Cornelia Steubing, della Comunità luterana di Bolzano (vedi in fondo il suo testo scaricabile), sono intervenuti con delle riflessioni appropriate sul momento storico attuale che vede venir meno i valori fondativi dell’Unione Europea. Particolarmente bello il contributo della comunità ortodossa rumena con un loro tipico canto.

Le impressioni dei partecipanti: un momento intenso di comunione, di unità, di riflessione, che “ha rimesso in cuore il desiderio per un’Europa unita”.

Di Mario e Luisa Franzoia

Libretto Veglia Di Preghiera 24.3.2017 TRENTO (55.0 KB, 305 downloads)

Intervento Prof. G. Zorzi, Veglia per l'Europa TRENTO 2017 (18.4 KB, 482 downloads)

Intervento C. Steubing, Veglia per l'Europa TRENTO 2017 (13.5 KB, 462 downloads)

60º Trattati di Roma /Trieste (Italia)

Un modo gioioso di essere cittadini europei segnati per sempre dall’ideale della fraternità.

Ieri l’incontro sull’Unione Europea ha visto confluire nella sala dell’oratorio di S. Giacomo 150 persone. Il programma ha visto gli interventi di d. Vatta e di Giampiero Viezzoli pieni di contenuti valoriali e informativi, a cui sono seguiti gli interventi di un gruppo di ragazzi delle scuole medie, che ci hanno contagiato con la loro freschezza giovanile, e l’intervento testimoniale dell’Iman Nader Akkad sull’Islam in Europa.

Hanno allietato la serata i ragazzi dell’orchestra di flauti del Liceo Musicale locale. Nella prima parte dell’incontro vi è stata la presenza del Sindaco Di Piazza, che ha fatto eco all’esigenza di riprendere il cammino forse al momento interrotto dell’unità europea. Erano presenti anche il Senatore Francesco Russo e la Consigliera comunale Fabiana Martini. Sono seguite le testimonianze fornite dalla lettera inviataci dalla Comunità ebraica, un testo bellissimo e commovente, in cui si palesa la sensazione di possibili ritorni all’indietro verso forme di intolleranza che già tanto hanno fatto soffrire e subito dopo dall’affettuoso saluto del Pastore Avventista Michele Gaudio. Hanno concluso i giovani del Servizio del Volontariato europeo col racconto delle loro esperienze in altre nazioni e con la presenza di un professore giapponese in visita in Europa, dove ha potuto godere di questo clima civile e politico comunque diverso, aperto e conciliativo.

La nota forse più rilevante di questa serata, che si è poi conclusa con una simpatica danza collettiva sulle note di una canzone di supporto all’insieme che l’Europa può e deve essere, è stata la presenza attiva e partecipe dei giovani delle varie associazioni a cominciare dai due presentatori, Ilaria e Andrea, per poi passare a dei giovanissimi studenti dichiaratisi convinti europeisti, ai musicisti flautisti, ai giovani volontari europei, ai giovani presenti in sala. E naturalmente il respiro di una festa comunitaria sentita e fraterna, dove ci si vede volentieri, perchè volentieri si è lavorato ottenendo il risultato del formarsi di un’apertura del cuore e della mente che vada oltre le solite chiusure, ma anche oltre le visioni ristrette o indifferenti.

Un impegno comune per una causa di notevole spessore come quella di relazionarsi nel rispetto tra persone di varie appartenenze. Un modo gioioso di essere cittadini europei segnati per sempre dall’ideale della fraternità.

di Elena e Silvano Magnelli

60. Jahrestag Römische Verträge /Aus 11 Städten Deutschlands

Gebet um die Einheit Europas und um den Frieden

Am Vorabend des 60. Jahrestages der Unterzeichnung der Römischen Verträge hatte das ökumenische Netzwerk Miteinander für Europa zu einem Gebet für Europa eingeladen. In Rom und in mehr als 50 europäischen Städten, davon 15 in Deutschland, beteten Hunderte von Menschen für die Einheit Europas und für den Frieden.

Esslingen, Winnenden und Breitenbrunn

Im CVJM-Haus in Esslingen, so berichtet Valerian Grupp, habe es mit neun Teilnehmern einen zahlenmäßig kleinen, aber dichten Gebetsabend mit Mitgliedern aus der kath. Kirche, der Baptistengemeinde und dem CVJM gegeben. Diana Fischer berichtet aus Winnenden, dass ihre Gebetsgruppe aus 12 Personen aus dem Asarja e.V. und aus der evangelische Allianz Winnenden bestanden habe. Am Ende der zwei Stunden intensiven Gebetes und des gemeinsamen Lobpreises sei für einzelne Nationen konkret gebetet und der Segen Gottes über diese Länder ausgesprochen worden. In der Missions- u. Begegnungsstätte Maria Baumgärtle in Breitenbrunn traf sich eine Gruppe von 20 Personen: Missionare vom Kostbaren Blut, ein Teil des Chors “Klangzauber” aus Breitenbrunn und weitere Einzelpersonen. An die Lektüre eines Infotextes über die Römischen Verträge schloss sich die gemeinsame Gebetszeit an, die sich ganz an der vom Netzwerk “Miteinander für Europa” zur Verfügung gestellten Gottesdienstvorlage orientierte. Besonders war das Bewusstsein, zeitgleich mit anderen Europäerinnen und Europäern in anderen Städten des Kontinentes zu beten und mit ihnen verbunden zu sein.

Ellwangen

Bei einer Gebetsveranstaltung in Ellwangen in der Franziskuskapelle betonte der CDU-Landtagsabgeordnete Winfried Mack, dass die Unterzeichnung der Römischen Verträge vor 60 Jahren den Menschen in Europa Frieden und Freiheit gebracht hätten. „Nach Jahrhunderten blutigster Kriege, Knechtschaft, staatlicher oder durch Banden organisierter Gewalt, nach Verirrungen im Nationalismus und gerade noch der gänzlichen Selbstzerstörung entgangen (Stichwort: Wunderwaffe), ist es diesem Kontinent gelungen, umzukehren!“ Ein einiges Europa sei der richtige Weg, den es weiterzugehen gelte. Mack forderte: „Wir müssen die Kraft finden, die großen Aufgaben in Europa gemeinsam zu lösen, ohne dass die Menschen dafür in ihrer heimatlichen Identität bedrängt werden.“ Angesichts der Tatsache, dass Ellwangen 700 Jahre lang ein Benediktinerkloster hatte, in dem der später heilig gesprochene Methodius drei Jahre lang Gefangener der fränkischen Herrscher gewesen sei, regte der Abgeordnete an, „die Patrone Europas, den heiligen Benedikt und die heiligen Brüder Cyrill und Methodius um deren Fürsprache für uns und alle Menschen in Europa zu bitten.”

Weinheim

Auf dem zentralen Marktplatz der Stadt Weinheim/Bergstraße (bei Heidelberg) waren zum „Gebet für Europa“ etwa 100 Personen verschiedener Generationen aus der Stadt und aus den umliegenden Gemeinden zusammengekommen. Eingeladen waren Mitglieder aller Kirchen und kirchlichen Gemeinschaften, die der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen (ACK) in Weinheim und Umgebung angehören. Gekommen war u.a. auch der Oberbürgermeister von Weinheim, Heiner Bernhard mit seiner Frau, der sich im Anschluss für die Initiative herzlich bedankt hat. Christian Pestel, Pastor der Baptistengemeinde, gestaltete den Gottesdienst aktiv mit. Bei der Kundgebung waren Teilnehmer von unterschiedlichen Konfessionen vertreten, etliche auch von der Baptistengemeinde.

Vallendar-Schönstatt

Mit einer international in fünf Sprachen gestalteten Gebetszeit, schaltete sich die Schönstatt-Bewegung in die Gebetsinitiative für Europa ein. Pater Ludwig Güthlein, Leiter der Schönstatt-Bewegung Deutschland, brachte zum Ausdruck, dass Europa gerade heute für seine Entwicklung „göttliche Kräfte“ brauche. „Deshalb beten wir heute Abend: Herr Jesus Christus, komm erneut mit deiner Gnade, um diesem Europa seine Seele zu erhalten.“ Eindrücklich für die knapp 50 Teilnehmer im und vor dem Urheiligtum und für die Mitbeter, die an ihren Monitoren die Feier im Live-Stream von www.schoenstatt-tv.de verfolgten, waren die „Traum“-Worte von Papst Franziskus über Europa, die er bei der Verleihung des Karlspreises am 6. Mai 2016 zum Ausdruck brachte und die in Deutsch, Französisch und Englisch vorgetragen wurden. (Siehe Bericht bei www.schoenstatt.de)

Landau/Pfalz

In der Kapelle des Katholischen Altenzentrums Landau/Pfalz kamen etwa 45 Personen aus verschiedenen christlichen Religionsgemeinschaften zusammen. Vertreten waren katholische, evangelische, baptistische und weitere freikirchliche Christen aus der Süd- und Südwestpfalz und aus dem Elsass, die Mitglieder in einer Vielzahl von Gemeinschaften und Bewegungen sind, so z.B. die Fokolarbewegung, Stadtmissionen Landau-Zeiskam und Annweiler, Hauskreisgemeinschaft Hassloch, Ökumenischer Hauskreis Annweiler, Ökumenischer Gebetskreis Südwestpfalz, Charismatische Erneuerung Landau, Evangelische Stiftskirchengemeinde, Katholiken aus verschiedenen Pfarreien. Neben dem Dank für 70 Jahre Frieden wurde vor allem darum gebetet, dass sich Blockierungen in Europa lösen. Dabei wurde nicht nur um den Erhalt der EU, sondern auch für notwendige Reformen und Umbauten gebetet.

Selbitz/Oberfranken

Die Communität der Christusbruderschaft Selbitz hat zum Gebet für Europa ihr Abendgebet für Gäste und Gemeinschaften geöffnet. Gut 35 Geschwistern wurde deutlich, „dass wir uns allesamt um ein friedliches und zugewandtes Miteinander in Europa bemühen, denn: Dieses ist keine Selbstverständlichkeit, sondern braucht unser Engagement, unsere Leidenschaft für Freundschaften über alle Grenzen hinweg und nicht zuletzt auch unser Gebet“, wie Sr. Nicole zum Ausdruck brachte. Zum Dank für alles, was in Europa in den letzten Jahren, Jahrzehnten und auch Jahrhunderten geworden ist kam auch die Bitte um Gottes Erbarmen für alles, woran Europa schuldig geworden ist – ob dies nun das massenhafte Morden in Kriegen oder die Rückbesinnung auf nationalistische Egoismen war, welche die Einheit Europas und seinen Traum von einem Miteinander über alle Grenzen hinweg zerstören können. Und das Gebet geht weiter: Alle beim Gebet anwesenden, haben ein europäisches Land gewählt, das sie bis Ende November im Gebet begleiten werden. Dann nämlich findet 2017 die letzte größere Wahl in Europa statt.

München

In der Münchner Heilig-Geist-Kirche war das Gebet für Europa Teil der regelmäßigen „Stay and Pray“ Initiative. Von den im Miteinander-Netzwerk vertretenen Gemeinschaften beteiligten sich der CVJM München, die Vineyard Gemeinde, die Agape Gemeinschaft, das Lobpreisteam, Jugend 2000 und die Fokolar Bewegung.  Ein besonders dichter Moment waren die frei gesprochenen Fürbitten: die Gegenwart des Heiligen Geistes war spürbar und offensichtlich anziehend, denn viele Fußgänger traten in die Kirche ein, um zusammen mit den Vertretern der Gemeinschaften in Gebet und Gesang zu verweilen. Ein schönes, lebendiges Bild von Jung und Alt vereint in gemeinsamer Fürbitte.

Borken

In Kloster Burlo bei Borken waren etwa 60 Mitglieder der Fokolar-Bewegung versammelt, zu denen überraschend 10 Marienschwestern der Schönstatt-Bewegung dazu kamen, obwohl deren Gemeinschaft ihre übliche Anbetungszeit hielt. So wurde nicht nur für das Miteinander in Europa gebetet, sondern auch das Miteinander der Gemeinschaften erlebt.

Rottenburg-Liebfrauenhöhe

Neben 50 Schönstätter Marienschwestern die auf der Liebfrauenhöhe wohnen, nahmen 150 weitere Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer beim Gebet für Europa teil, das in der Kröniungskirche des Schönstatt-Zentrums in der Nähe von Rottenburg stattfand. Vor allem Mitglieder der Fokolar-Bewegung waren neben den Mitgliedern der Schönstattbewegung und vielen Mitchristen aus den umliegenden Ortschaften zum Abendgebet gekommen, das von Sr. M. Monika März und Pfr. Klaus Rennemann, Schönstatt-Bewegung, Claudia Hofrichter, Mitglied bei Kolping und Mitglied im Kultur- und Integrationsausschuss Ergenzingen, sowie von P. Dr. Lothar Penners, Mitglied im Trägerkreis von „Miteinander für Europa“ Deutschland, gestaltet wurde. Ortsvorsteher Horst Schuh, Baisingen, sprach von seinen Erfahrungen mit „Europa frei und offen: Leben, Reisen, Arbeiten auf unserem Kontinent“. Er zeigte aus seinen Kinder- und Jugenderfahrungen auf, wie sich Europa von einem Kontinent der vielen Grenzen in ein Europa der Freiheit und des Friedens gewandelt hat. Landrat Roland Bernhard, der vor 25 Jahren Vertreter der Landesregierung in Brüssel war, schilderte die Aufgaben Europas für heute und der Zukunft. Er zeigte die politischen Schwierigkeiten und Herausforderungen, v.a. in der Flüchtlingsfrage und den wirtschaftlichen Herausforderungen und rief uns dazu auf, über die Grenzen Europas zu schauen. P. Dr. Lothar Penners, Rottenburg-Liebfrauenhöhe, wies anhand des Wortes aus dem Kolosserbrief „Lasst nicht nach im Beten; seid dabei wachsam und dankbar…, seid weise im Umgang mit den Außenstehenden, nutzt die Zeit! Eure Worte seien immer freundlich, doch mit Salz gewürzt.“ (Kol. 4,2-6), hin auf die christliche Verantwortung und zeigte über die kultur- und religionsgeschichtliche Entwicklung Europas, wie sehr Christen aufgrund ihres Glaubens eine große Sendung für Frieden und Solidarität haben. Pfr. Klaus Rennemann beschrieb den Einsatz für Europa als Auftrag Gottes: Denn Europa müsse – trotz der vielen Herausforderungen – für die Welt zu einem sichtbaren Zeichen und Garant des Friedens und des gelingenden Miteinanders werden. Abgeschlossen wurde die Veranstaltung durch das Gebet für Europa, das Vater unser, einen tiefen Friedensgruß und die Möglichkeit zur Anbetung im Bitten um ein gelingendes Miteinander.

Quelle: www.miteinander-wie-sonst.org

Titelbild: “Dank-Sterne” für Europa (Foto: Valerian Grupp)

60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties /Hungary

SZEGED

Rövid hír: „Örömmel közöljük, hogy a márc. 24.-e imaestet megtartottuk a tervek szerint a baptista imaházban.

Szépen sikerült.  A lelkész kört egy baptista és egy evangélikus lelkész képviselte.

A testvéri beszélgetések valóban kinyitották a szívünket és úgy éreztük szerves része vagyunk ennek a nagy ’álomnak’, ami az egység! Egy konkrét szikra is megszületett a lelkészekben, hogy az idei Tágas Tér fesztiválra meghívják az Együtt Európáért képviselőit.”

Netwerkavond international leaders meeting 11/2015

Geplaatst 8 okt. 2015 16:10 door Enno Dijkema  

SAMEN VOOR EUROPA INTERNATIONAL LEADERS MEETING
NETWERK AVOND
Vrijdagavond 13 november 2015

CONFERENTIECENTRUM MARIËNKROON, NIEUWKUIJK

De jaarlijks terugkerende international leaders meeting van Samen voor Europa vindt dit jaar in Nederland plaats. Op vrijdagavond 13 november wordt de meeting opengesteld voor vrienden in het Nederlandse netwerk van Samen voor Europa. De genodigde deelnemers maken kennis met Samen voor Europa en haar internationale leiders van circa 15 verschillende landen van Rusland tot Ierland en Zweden tot Portugal, behorende tot zeer uiteenlopende christelijke bewegingen en organisaties.

Recente gebeurtenissen rondom Griekenland en de opvang van vluchtelingen laten zien dat het concept van Europa en van de Europese samenwerking kampt met een gebrek aan een gemeenschappelijk ideaal en gedeelde waarden als solidariteit en onderling vertrouwen. Welke rol spelen we als christenen van verschillende kerken, bewegingen en organisaties in het hedendaagse Europa?

Is het voldoende ons te beperken tot Nederland als missiegebied of is het in deze tijd nodig om dwarsverbanden te smeden over de grenzen heen? Zijn we ons bewust van de sterke onderlinge vervlechting van onze geschiedenissen en van de gemeenschappelijke christelijke basis daarvan? Ook vandaag is de ontwikkeling van Nederland niet meer los te zien van de invloed van andere landen in ons continent.

Onder de naam ‘Samen voor Europa’ werken sinds 2004 meer dan 200 zelfstandige christelijke bewegingen, gemeenschappen, netwerken en organisaties op Europees, nationaal en lokaal niveau samen. Tot deze groeperingen behoren protestante, katholieke, orthodoxe en anglicaanse christenen alsook leden van vrije kerken en gemeenten.

Brussels 2012

Brussels 2012

Together for Europe – Brussels, 12th May 2012.

“A Wave of Hope” was the title of proceedings of the third large-scale event held by Together for Europe – a pan-European event with a central point in Brussels.

More than a thousand participants from all over Europe gathered in the Gold Hall: public figures from political, cultural and ecclesial walks of life, representatives of Christian Movements and Communities. Many others expressed their support through their messages or Patronage of the event.

A unique characteristic was the extensive network linking 152 simultaneous events in 22 European countries with the main event held in Brussels. Through these small and large-scale events, new collaborations between the 300 Movements and Communities present aimed at benefiting the local areas sprang into existence while existing collaborations were stepped up.

Some of these collaborations of the last few years consisted in initiatives themed around the “The 7 Yeses” launched in Stuttgart in 2007, for example a variety of projects focused on equal and respectful integration of different peoples were carried out at different levels. Initiatives of the 12th May which brought people of all ages and persuasions together include: creating a human chain around an island perimeter, hot air balloon spectacles, European flag displays, concerts, round tables, parades and rallies on European streets and squares.

In a number of cities children from various Movements supported the initiative through a parallel event involving great commitment and creativity entitled ‘Run4Unity’. Young people also took part in the central event in Brussels through songs, testimonials and an initiative called “Face2faith in Europe”.

The event concluded with a message of hope, unity and peace addressed by thousands of people throughout Europe linked together by satellite connection with Brussels.

See the video “A current of Hope” 

by the International Secretariat of Together for Europe

Flash main event Brussels

 

Flash local events

Local Events 2009

Together for Europe multiplied. With the 2004 and 2007  events in Stuttgart, continental in scale, many Christian Movements and Communities all over Europe set on a journey of Together.

In 2009 in order to ‘sow’ locally national meetings were held in 12 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Hungary. The presence of a representative of another European country at each national meeting helped maintain a broader European dimension.

Each of these events were unique in character and coloured by the culture of the region as well as the Communities and Movements involved in its organisation. A shared objective was to face up with responsibility to challenges facing today’s Europe, beginning within each country’s own borders.

Several of these local events were closely followed in the national media including TV, radio and press of the individual countries. Effective testimonials of Christian life were offered for a variety of life situations: with themes ranging from the welcoming and safeguarding of life to complex issues affecting the family today, the relationship with nature, solidarity with the poor and the vulnerable, commitment to peace and to safety in cities among others.

Testimonials such as these conveyed an assurance that viable solutions to issues faced by the society today could be found in the Gospel.

See the video “10 years for Europe”

by the International Secretariat of Together for Europe

Würzburg and Ischia, 7/12/2013

From Germany (Würzburg)

“A very special day in our ‘Together’” – so the leaders of movements and communities of various Churches in Germany summarized the meeting of 7th December 2013 in Würzburg. 120 people involved in Together for Europe gathered to reflect on the past year and on the next steps to take.

Here is what Gerhard Pross, ‘Treffen von Verantwortlichen’, wrote: “The day began with a reflection on a thought from Chiara Lubich in which we are called to ‘Together’.

This was followed by a rich exchange of experiences of collaboration between movements and communities in various cities in Germany, such as the ‘Oasis of Peace and Prayer’, formed in Stuttgart.

The President of the German Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch wished to visit the conference. In ‘Together’, he sees an initiative which unites the Churches, gives an important witness and is a sign of encouragement. He spoke particularly in view of 2017, the year which marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Lutheran Reformation.

He hopes that this anniversary will become an opportunity of encounter and of new understanding. In the ensuing dialogue, several aspects emerged.

The ‘pact of mutual love’ came into relief, with which the network of Together for Europe was born. It is not enough to know one another; a real, fraternal collaboration is needed, which gives an example to the peoples of Europe.

‘For me it was an historic moment, there is someone who opens wide his arms’, said one of the Leaders. And another exhorted Archbishop Zollitsch to continue on this way with courage: ‘The people are on your side!”

During the conference, reference was made to the meeting of the ‘Friends of Together for Europe’ which took place last November in Paris. ‘Together’ welcomes not only movements of various Churches, but also belonging to almost all the peoples of Europe. This gives rise to a responsibility for a cultural, social and political contribution.

Gerhard continues: “With the German Committee we prepared the day of 7th December with a prayer of ‘listening’. When we were able to put aside all our considerations and we tried to listen to Him, then we felt encouraged. Someone said: ‘The Risen Lord is among us and says, ‘don’t be afraid!’’.

This meeting had a special grace and left in our hearts the certainty that ‘Together’ will go ahead and that we have been able to intuit something of the ‘score written in heaven’”.

From Ischia (Italy) 7th September 2013: Procession for Peace.

“On 7th September, 2013 – write Rita and Giulio Seller – on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for Peace, the ‘Ischia for Europe’ Committee organized a major event for peace with a procession with songs and candles. As a sign of support, shops switched off lights and turned down sound. The march ended in the pine forest with speeches, poems and prayers about peace, contributed by Lutherans and Catholics, interspersed by musical pieces from some of the island’s artists. The Catholic bishop recorded a video message for the occasion.

Many left comments and reflections, expressing gratitude for the event”.

Gabriella Fallacara e Severin Schmid