“Aim high”, the Europe-wide Mariapolis
Connecting people, cultures and stories
Against the background of an increasingly fragmented continent of Europe, the Focolare Movement is holding its first Europe-wide Mariapolis, “Aim High”, in the summer of 2019.
From 14t h July, four week-long holiday events, each tailored to a number of European languages, will take place in the Dolomites, Italy, where the first ‘Mariapolis’ was held seventy years ago.
A Mariapolis (City of Mary), is a gathering where the citizens of a temporary ‘town’ try to build a new type of human society based on the relationships in a family – fraternity and mutual respect, as they holiday together. Aim High i s open to people of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities.
“Our dream is to have an event which underlines the beauty of the European continent in all its diversity, where the richness of every culture emerges in the splendid tapestry that is Europe,” explains Peter Forst from Focolare. “We believe that through sharing our stories, our cultures and our histories – getting to know each other – we can lay the foundation for a more united Europe.”
History of the Mariapolis
In the difficult post-war period while struggling to heal from the wounds inflicted on all the nations of Europe by the Second World War, a growing number of young people, families, workers, professionals and politicans joined members of the nascent Movement for summer holidays in the mountains of Trentino, Italy.
Right from the start the Mariapolis was a small chunk of society renewed by the love of the Gospel. South Tyroleans and Italians, French and Germans all participated as the hatred of the war quickly melted away.
From early on, a note of internationality characterized the Movement which was spreading rapidly, first in Italy and then, in 1952, in the other countries of Europe and to the other continents in 1958.
In 1959, more than 10,000 people attended the Mariapolis at Fiera di Primiero in Trentino, Italy. Twenty seven countries from different continents were represented.
At that Mariapolis – and later in 1960 at Freiburg, Germany – while speaking to an international gathering about unity among the peoples of the world, Chiara Lubich proposed the Gospel commandment of love as the relationship that could exist between nations: “Love your neighbour’s country as yours”
The Mariapolis continues today on all 5 continents and now there are also twenty permanent Mariapolises around the world, the first and most developed in Loppiano, Italy, in 1964.
Dates and languages:
14th July – 21st July IT EN SL CZ FR
21st July – 28th July IT EN DE HR PL NL
28th July – 4th August IT EN RU SK LT PT
4th August – 11th August IT EN DE HU RO ES