Some Focolare members from Cesena, Italy, take a virtual trip to Loppiano. They tell about it at: www.focolaremiliaromagna.org.
How many of us in this difficult period from so many points of view would like to be able to say, “We went on a trip to Loppiano!” Perhaps remembering when a visit to the citadel of the Focolare Movement near Florence marked a fundamental moment of our own spiritual journey . . .
Of course, now things are different, but even though we cannot talk about taking trips we can still find other ways to visit the places we love. This desire prompted some members of the Focolare Movement in Cesena to contact Enrica, a friend of theirs from Cesena who has been living in Loppiano. Starting from some video calls with her and other people at Loppiano, it was possible to organize an online meeting which they called Live with Loppiano.
It was just like being there and visiting the different sites through video and the experiences of some of the citizens of the town. There were 50 of us connected via Zoom. “A veritable busload!” someone observed and everyone was equally thrilled at the feeling of really being there and walking the streets.
They met a family from Brazil that was spending a period of time at Loppiano and then realized they could stay on permanently to make their own contribution to the Focolare town. They met a couple who witnessed the construction of Loppiano from the very beginning, an economic expert who found in Loppiano the place to study and experiment with a new economy. They met a young man who wishes to experience life and growth with other young people from different parts of the world, and others who made a concrete contribution in the preparation of the Economy of Francesco. They met a focolarina who had lived in other Focolare towns around the world. All of them described in broad brushstrokes and with simplicity, different scenes from their lives, creating a family atmosphere in which each person is a gift for the others. And here is what some participants wrote:
“The decision to put God in first place in our lives and live the spirituality of the Movement may seem easier in an environment where everyone agrees and helps each other like in Loppiano, but I think that whatever place we find ourselves in, we can put the Gospel into practice and look at each other with new eyes.”
“I’ve known Loppiano for some time, from when I was an elementary schoolteacher and took many groups of students, parents and colleagues to visit this citadel. It was always a fascinating place for everyone, and it helped us during our years of teaching to propose a culture of giving that could be lived in daily life. This evening I relived that experience and am grateful for the beautiful hour spent virtually in this citadel.”
“This evening at Loppiano awakened in me the joy of getting up in the morning with the desire to live among brothers and sisters, with the desire to renew my choice of God.”
“Beautiful meeting with the citadel of Loppiano, and example of generosity, wisdom, and love for neighbor. I can’t wait to meet all the beautiful people who are there and living and working in the name of Jesus welcoming people from all over the world.”
“I connected out of curiosity. . . I had never done Zoom meetings, but I managed to do it. I was in Loppiano in 1974. I remembered that day well, I remembered it during all these years and it was a pleasure to find the same atmosphere again: it’s a beautiful place that ignites hope.”