From July 16 to August 6, the “Formato Famiglia” project (Family Format), offered in Loppiano by the New Families Movement, welcomed about 35 families from various parts of Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Mexico, Costa Rica and China. Three weeks of sharing.
They were assured a break of rest and reflection in the international citadel of the Focolare, near Florence, immersed in the harmonious beauty of the Tuscan countryside. It was a loosely structured program, as befits any real vacation, with plenty of space to discover Loppiano, its inhabitants, and multiple opportunities to share with the other host and guest families: during formation sessions there were walks, dinners, guided visits to the Shrine or art workshops.
This is the summer version of Formato Famiglia, the event that in autumn, winter and spring, with in-depth programs on topical family issues, has attracted many families to the citadel every last weekend of the month.
“We wanted to characterize the summer offer with more relaxed rhythms,” says Barbara Rovea of the New Families Movement, animator of the experience, “without intense daily programs but with plenty of space for simply taking a vacation together. With the possibility to dialogue, confront each other, exchange experiences, share their lives, difficulties.”.
It is an experience open to everyone: couples, families with children, grandparents, grandchildren, young people and engaged couples. A simple formula that met with the approval of 35 families from various Italian and European backgrounds but also from other countries: such as Mexico, Costa Rica and China. Eight families took turns in the service team.
“The first purpose of Formato Famiglia,” Santina and Pierluigi, project contact persons, point out, “is welcoming. Families today are quite alone throughout the year. The networks of mutual support are rare. They don’t always have places where they can open up or share, for example, problems related to child rearing or couple relationships. With this experience we really address everyone, you don’t need to be part of the Focolare Movement or have a Christian religious reference to participate. Formato Famiglia (Family Format) wants to be this open space, which gives the opportunity to share, in an atmosphere of mutual trust.”
How did it go?
Marco and Elisa arrived in Loppiano without knowing anyone: “Thanks to all the people who welcomed and accompanied us,” they write at the end of their experience, “they were a warm but never intrusive presence. Important points of reference.”
From Spain, 19 arrived, participating in the artistic-spiritual journey to Tuscany organized by the local New Families Movement. They were from different parts of the country, with different ages, situations and beliefs. “The families who lived the Loreto School experience this year and those of the Formato Famiglia team prepared each visit to the different places in the citadel with exquisite love, along with aperitif, coffee, the barbecue… Above all, the two mornings when they told us about their life experiences. The authenticity of lived life and dedication convert and transform!” From this group of Spanish families also comes great encouragement: “This Family Format initiative has a hopeful future. Families need healthy, deep, welcoming spaces, testimonies that build and help.”
So, see you in October, for the new season of the usual weekend Formato Famiglia event, which promises a priority look at young engaged couples, families and singles.