“We can save ourselves only if we stick together”
This year’s annual meeting of the Friends of ‘Together for Europe’ (TfE)* was held on November 14, 2020. Due to the pandemic, it was held online and about 300 persons from almost all countries of Europe took part, ranging from Portugal to Ukraine and Russia, as well as from Northern Ireland to Greece. 14 of the 40 Movements that are highly involved in the group of Friends presented a variegated mix of experiences in Eastern and Western Europe by means of videos, photos and written contributions.
During the morning session, a German participant affirmed: “We find ourselves in today’s Areopagus from where we can encourage people”. All the Movements offer a visible contribution toward a more united humanity through three praxes: “pray together, live together and be committed together for the others”. There was an active participation through chats and in one of these the St Egidio Community affirmed: ““We can save ourselves only if we stick together”.
How are our charisms shining at this time of coronavirus? This question was put by Gerhard Pross, a moderator of TfE during the afternoon session of the meeting. This entails listening to what God is telling us today. Through the pandemic He is sounding an alarm bell. Through prayer, the Movements put themselves at His service and, in a culture of alliance they deepen their relationship with God and between themselves, spiritually as well as materially. In a culture of the encounter they learn anew how to dialogue, without losing their own identity, and, among other things, through the solidarity with the poor, they bear visible witness to their love for God and for humanity. The St Egidio Community, the Schönstatt Movement, the still young Movement Efisia that was born in France, a member of the YMCA Esslingen representing the Leadership Group and the Focolare Movement shared their experiences of how their charisms have responded in solidarity and in a creative way to the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
At one point, the participants were divided into more than 40 breakout groups, and this gave them the possibility of sharing even very personal experiences. Through this exercise, the participants became more aware of the importance, now more than ever, of the relationships between them and with all the others. Next year’s meeting is scheduled for 4-6 November 2021 in the city of Porto.
* Together for Europe is a network of about 300 Christian Movements and Communities. They aim to contribute toward unity in Eastern and Western Europe, and together they also see to the needs of other Continents.