In addition to the joy of being together again in person after the pandemic, an unexpected and affectionate greeting from Pope Francis has arrived to those with overall responsibility for the Focolare Movement around the world, who are meeting in Rome from 10th to 23rd September.
“I am grateful for so much good news. I am close to you personally, and to all of you. I assure you of my prayers, please pray for me too.”
These were the Pope’s words in reply to a letter from Margaret Karram, President of the Focolare Movement, with which she chose to open the meeting of those responsible for the Focolare Movement in the world, together with its General Council.
The President told the 104 people at the meeting that a few days ago she had felt urged to write to the Pope, to thank him for his constant closeness to her and to the Movement, hoping to give him joy. In her letter dated 6th September, among other things, she told the Pope: ‘A year and seven months have passed since I was elected President, and I confide in you that it has been a very demanding time with many challenges to be faced and many decisions to be made. I have understood more and more your words referring to the ‘pruning’ which is necessary for growth and, as I renewed my choice to embrace Jesus crucified and forsaken in this pruning, I perceived that I became more humble, I felt greater hope, and that my unity with you, Your Holiness, was ever stronger, together with the certainty that God is at work.
At the same time, I witnessed a great fruitfulness and, in individuals and communities, I witnessed steps in spiritual growth being taken. I also saw greater care for the ‘least,’ and many tangible actions to help those who suffer the most’. Margaret concluded by assuring the Pope of the prayers of everyone in the Movement.
She was very surprised when the following day she received this handwritten reply from Pope Francis:
Ms Margaret Karram
My dear sister,
Thank you very much for your letter to me yesterday. I am grateful for so much good news.
I am close to you personally, and to all of you. I assure you of my prayers, please pray for me too.
May the Lord bless you and may Mary protect you.