By Focolare Media Office
On Tuesday, January 27, 2015, Bishop Raffaello Martinelli officially opened the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the foundress of the Focolare Movement, Chiara Silvia Lubich, at the crowded Cathedral of Frascati, Italy. There were Cardinals and Bishops, leaders of other Christian Churches, believers of other religions, mayors of various cities and relatives of Lubich among the attendees. More people followed outside the church on a maxi-screen, and no less than 18,000 from all over the world joined the live-streaming of the event.
With the oath of Bishop Martinelli, his delegate Bishop Angelo Amati, the postulators and the tribunal, the diocesan phase of the cause is now opened. The tribunal will now examine the “life, virtue and fame of holiness” of Chiara Silvia Lubich, who is now a Servant of God.
Pope Francis recalled in a message read by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the “luminous example of the life of the Focolare foundress.” He urged to “make known the life and work of her who welcomed the invitation of the Lord and ignited in the Church a new light on the way toward unity.”
Bishop Martinelli described the opening ceremony as an opportunity to “give glory to God”, offering to the Church the witness of faith, hope and charity through the life of one of its daughters.”
Over 90 witnesses are already on the list for offering their testimony to the process, among them the current president of the Focolare, Maria Voce. She addressed the audience after the official opening, hoping that the Cause would be an opportunity “to make known this new light that Chiara gave to the Church…. Chiara Lubich welcomed the charism that God gave her, and wanted that this Gospel-based lifestyle would be lived out by many, helping them to put God first and ‘becoming saints together.’ Her heart was moved by a universal love, able to embrace all people beyond differences, always aiming to fulfill the priestly prayer of Jesus to the Father, ‘that all may be one” (Jn 17:21).
The decision to solicit the Opening of the Cause of Canonization had been announced by Voce on December 7, 2013, on the 70th anniversary of the Focolare Movement. Now, in the diocesan phase, the tribunal will examine all published and unpublished writings of Chiara Lubich, looking for “extraordinary elements of virtue” of this newly declared Servant of God.
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