International Youth Festival in Manila, Philippines

Genfest, an international youth festival generally held every six years, will take place for the first time outside Europe. This time it will be in Asia, in Manila, Philippines on 6 to 10th July, 2018. The theme and title for Genfest 2018 is “Beyond all borders”  
We have four youth presenting us in the festival: namely Ms Audrey Nakhatama, Mary Akinyi, Ainamoe Orengo and Johnstone Nduba they traveled to Manila on July 4, 2018.

Ms Audrey Nakhatama

Mary Akinyi

The Genfest is a meeting of youth who want to show the world that universal fraternity, a united world, is an Ideal worth living for. Over the years, the Genfest has become a great festival of ideas, thoughts and actions that inspire thousands of youth to change their life, their future and, finally, the world

Silvia Chiara was born in Trent on January 22, 1920. She was the second of four children: Gino, Liliana and Carla. Her father, Luigi Lubich, had worked as a wine-seller and typesetter. He was an anti-fascist and socialist who had once been a colleague of Benito Mussolini, but later became an unyielding opponent of the fascist dictator. Her mother, Luigi, possessed a strong traditional faith. After studying medicine her older brother, Gino, joined the Resistance in the famous Garibaldi Brigade. Later, he dedicated himself to journalism at the Communist newspaper, L’Unità.

Silvia Chiara Lubich
Silvia Chiara Lubich

At the age of 18 Silvia received her teaching certificate with full marks. She wished to continue her studies and applied for admission to a Catholic University but came in last in scholarship lottery. Since there was not enough money in the Lubich family to pay for her education in another city, Silvia was forced to find a job. During the 1940-1941 school years she taught elementary school at the Opera Seraphica in Trent.
It was in Trent, Northern Italy, 1944 that Chiara Lubich and her first few companions attended the Mass on the Feast of Christ the King. At the end of the Mass she and her friends remained recollected and reflected on a phrase they had heard during the Mass: from the book of Psalms: “Ask me and I shall give you all the peoples and lands of the earth.” (Ps 2,8). They asked God to help them put this phrase into action by saying to God, ‘You know how to bring about unity. Here we are. Use us ‘.

Chiara explained what this meant during the XIX National Eucharistic Conference in Pescara 1977, “The Movement grew and unfolded in line with the precise plan God has for us. It was always there unseen and then it was revealed little by little… just as a pen does not know what it will write, a brush doesn’t know what it will paint, the chisel what it will sculpt. So it was when God takes someone by the hand to found his work, that person does not know what they should do. The person is only and instrument for God’s work. So it was in Trent. I had no plan, I knew nothing. The idea for the Opera (the Movement) was in God, the plan was in heaven. It was like that at the start and has been during all these years as the Focolare Movement has developed.”
The first groups of girls were clearly destined to never remain a closed group. After a few months of living their Ideal of unity they had a following of some 500 people around them in Trent. It wasn’t long before the Ideal spread further afield. When, after the end of the Second World War, the first focolarine (women) moved to various cities in Italy to study or work, they were never short of invitations from people who wanted to hear their experiences. Rome was reached in 1948 followed by Florence and Milan. In 1956 it spread into Europe, in 1958 South America and in 1961 North America. In 1963 it was the turn of Africa, in 1966 Asia and 1967 Australia.
Today the Movement is present in 182 countries. It has approximately 2 million adherents and people who are sympathetic to its goals – the majority being Roman Catholic. There are a growing number of non-Catholics from 350 churches and ecclesial communities. The Movement also includes many from other world Faiths for example Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs. Then there are also those in the Movement who do not adhere to any particular religious faith. The core of the Movement consists of more than 140 thousand animators across all the expressions of the Movement.