CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 November 2018

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First Genfest in Asia calls on love and sharing

MANILA (Agencies): Some 6,000 young people from over 100 nations participated in a three-day youth festival of sharing, music, art and concrete actions from July 6 to July 8 in Manila. 
 
The 11th edition of Genfest, the international youth festival of the worldwide Focolare Movement is the first such rally held in Asia and outside Europe. 
 
Genfest 2018, held in the Philippine capital under the theme Beyond All Borders, allowed young people to experience diverse cultures and traditions, find best practices, tools, and projects that would help them achieve sustainable change and realise that everyone is a member of one human family. 
 
The gathering launched a new project called “Pathways to Fraternity” which aims to “bringing people of diverse nations, cultures and races together so that they can contribute towards building fraternal relationships in the fields of economy, justice, politics, environment, intercultural and interreligious dialogue,” reported Agenzia Fides. 
 
Generally held every six years, the festival was organised by the “Youth for a United World”, the youth wing of Focolare. 
 
Since its inception in Italy in 1973, the Genfest has become an avenue for young people to show that a united world is possible.
 
“At a time when migration increases and nationalisms gain ground, as a reaction to an exclusively economic globalisation that ignores the diversities of individual cultures and religions, the Genfest proposes to young people a change of attitude: do not stop at personal, social and political barriers but be ready to accept without fear or prejudice any sort of diversity,” said Maria Voce, president of the Focolare Movement.
 
She said the Focolare youth will seek to generate a web of activities targeted at instilling a mentality and a practice of peace and solidarity in their own surroundings and in their countries. 
 
The Genfest was a feast and a commitment at the same time. The message to “overcome borders” was passed on through the artistic performances during the concerts that brought Asia to the rest of the world and vice versa. 
 
The gathering also organised a a multimedia and interactive exhibition named Explo, that offered a different version of the world’s history based on humanity’s 
 
steps towards peace and the centrality of personal commitment to build it. 
 
“Hands for Humanity” was one of the events of the gathering – a series of twelve activities of solidarity, encounter and urban redevelopment organised in different parts of Manila, where the youngsters had a hands-on experience
on the community building projects. 
 
Maria Voce proposed three words as a life programme for the participants as they return to their countries: “Love, Start Again and Share”. 
 
The appeal was to love the people of other countries as you love your own people; to start again without ever losing hope that another world is possible and to share personal and collective wealth, resources and burdens. 
 
She concluded by challenging the young people to “be men and women of unity, people who cherish the treasures of every culture, and ultimately be global men and women”.

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