Community Evening Diary: Fostering a Common Humanity

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Community Evening Diary: Fostering a Common Humanity

By Stefanie Bross

The Lay Centre community gathered in April with a shared dedication to fostering unity, dialogue, and empowerment for two memorable evenings.

  • Donna Kempt and Mervat Kelly, from the Focolare Movement, offered insights into the movement's charism and shared their respective journeys as active members. They explained how the Focolare Movement, founded by Chiara Lubich in Italy in 1943, emerged in response to the pressing social and spiritual needs at the time.

Rooted in the teachings of Jesus, particularly the commandment to love one another as he loved us, the movement endeavors to promote universal brotherhood and unity among people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. In small communities, called "Focolare," members gather to pray, reflect and support one another, embodying the spirit of love in action.

  • The Lay Centre also welcomed Chiara Porro, Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, who spoke about her work as a woman in diplomacy. She emphasized the transformative impact of gender diversity in diplomatic circles, stressing the importance of amplifying indigenous voices and perspectives on the world stage to foster inclusivity and solidarity.

She shed light on concerns shared by the Vatican and Australia, such as climate change and the international refugee crisis, noting the influence of the papal encyclical “Laudato Si'” and its resonance with values of the indigenous people in Australia.

In addition to her commitment to gender equality, Ambassador Porro is actively engaged in other areas, including the protection of minors. Furthermore, she has played a pivotal role in strengthening ties between the Vatican and Australia, serving as a bridge for dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual concern. She is the sole representative from Oceania at the Vatican in a diplomatic capacity.

Photo: Evelyn Blacklock

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