Meeting of European Friends in Portugal

Meeting of European Friends in Portugal

Due to the pandemic, for the past three years the Friends of the ecumenical network Together for Europe were forced to hold only online meetings. Things have changed and now they plan to meet physically this autumn: in Porto, Portugal, from 11 till 13 November 2022.

In the invitation letter sent by the Steering Committee we read: “Porto is found in the extreme west of Europe and we are very happy to discover the richness and the challenges that our brothers and sisters have in this part of the Continent”. The Portuguese national Committee, which embraces 10 Movements, has extended its invitation three years ago, and its desire will soon be a reality. “Undoubtedly, it will be a great discovery for all of us and we are grateful to the many persons who have been working for some time to welcome us”.

A NEW MISSION FOR EUROPE

The motto of the Meeting of the Friends will be “A new mission for Europe!”. It entails praying together with our Portuguese brothers and sisters, listening to them and reflecting with them, while they share their experiences of unity and reconciliation.

The aforementioned letter continues: “In the present difficult times that Europe is passing through, we want to be united and live that unity to which we have been called. This Meeting will surely be a discovery and an adventure for all of us, because we shall meet the city of Porto and its history, the communities and the Movements of the Portuguese Together, as well as many committed young people in Portugal”.

To allow the greatest possible number of Portuguese the possibility to know the reality of Together for Europe, the organizers decided to hold the Meeting in five languages: English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. The venue of the Meeting is the meeting hall of the “Associação Católica do Porto”.

Registration, via the leadership of individual Communities, is still open and will remain so till October 10, 2022.

Heinrich Brehm

 

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