WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Genfest 2018 in Manila – call to love, share and build unity

WelCom September 2018:

Cris Sebold

Connecting with a social project in Cebu, Philippines. Photo: Supplied

Genfest 2018, an international youth festival of the worldwide Focolare Movement, was hosted in Manila from 6–8 July. The theme, ‘Beyond All Borders’, enabled 6000 young people from 100 nations to come together and share cultures, traditions, dreams and projects. Through art, entertainment, but especially through the stories of some young people who had experienced deep pain in their lives, the gathering gave us a stronger realisation we are all members of one human family.

We were offered the opportunity to ‘roll up our sleeves and dirty our hands’ by taking part in ‘Hands for Humanity’. This involved 12 activities of solidarity, encounter and urban redevelopment in different parts of Manila. We collected rubbish, and visited hospitals and schools for underprivileged children, helping out where we could.

Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, proposed three concepts: to love, start again and share. Love the peoples of other countries as we would love our own people; start again without ever losing hope that a new world is possible and share personal and collective wealth, resources and burdens. She challenged the young people to be men and women of unity.

Sixty-six of us from the Oceania region, including New Zealand, Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and Australia, spent four days in Cebu working with the Bukas Palad, a Foculare community project, prior to the event.

Genfest was an enlightening, rewarding, unforgettable and phenomenal experiences. The local people taught us that no one is too poor to give, and that no one is too rich to receive. Our hearts are full of gratitude to God for such an amazing experience.

Cris Sebold, Focolare Movement, Wellington. The Focolare Movement is an international and organisation that promotes the ideals of Christian unity. (newzealand-w@focolare.org)