The Focolare Movement’s New Families event saw people sharing how they found God in difficult situations
A singing session during the Focolare Movement’s New Families celebration on March 18.
A young, pregnant woman overcame suicidal thoughts after her husband left her alone in a foreign land. A couple facing financial difficulty put God first in their lives and experienced numerous blessings.
These were some of the personal experiences shared during the Focolare Movement’s New Families event on March 18.
More than 130 people, including children, teenagers and adults, gathered at Agape Village to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New Families branch of the Focolare Movement. The event also commemorated the nine years since Focolare founder Chiara Lubich passed away.
Ms Lubich launched the New Families in 1967. This branch of the Focolare focuses on living out the Gospel in all aspects of family life – in the relationship between couples, upbringing of children, and involvement in the community.
In her sharing on March 18, Ms Koh recalled how some 30 years ago, she had moved to the US and then Canada with her husband, supporting him and his ambition for further studies. However, he left her, alone, in Canada, while she was pregnant. When their son was 10 weeks old she returned to Singapore to be with her family.
It was a very dark period for her as she struggled to understand what went wrong. She even contemplated suicide. Yet throughout, she felt a yearning for God, even though she was not Catholic. And she experienced the love from the people around her – her family, friends and shopkeepers.
In 1998, Ms Koh and her son were baptised at the Church of St Mary of the Angels.
“I am learning to live my life doing his [God’s] will,” she shared, “without calculating the cost or having the need to know the logical answer to everything.”
In another testimony, Ethel, who has been married to Simon for 45 years, shared how they and their son experienced God’s providence.
When money was tight, the couple decided to live the Gospel passage of Luke 6:38. (“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.”)
Ethel shared that they decided “to give God not of our surplus, but to put Him first”. Each month, the couple budgeted for God first, such as donating to the church and other charitable causes.
The family saw that God provided for their needs. Their son had his education taken care of by bursaries and scholarships and, more recently, when 90-year-old Simon needed an oxygen converter in order to leave the hospital for home, where he wanted to be, a friend offered hers.
“Do you believe in miracles? That’s what happened. It was like a rock had been lifted off our shoulders,” Ethel shared.
In another testimony, Christopher shared how his mother’s dementia affected the family. His father became depressed and frustrated, and for Christopher, the emotional and financial strain took their toll on him.
“It’s hard to understand why the sufferings just kept piling up,” he said.
However, his wife and four children stood by him, as well as his friends in the Focolare.
“I am not yet sure I can thank God right now for this journey, instead of questioning him,” said Christopher. “But I am more aware that God did not leave me alone to deal with the suffering without the means to develop my capacity for the undertaking.”
The event also saw the performance of songs, dances and skits. It ended with Mass celebrated by Redemptorist Fr Francis Vijayan.
Mr Edmund Ang, who attended the event with his wife and son, said the sharings are examples of what true love is. “It’s not what Hollywood portrays but love that manifests itself in the form of suffering,” he said.
Submitted by FOCOLARE MOVEMENT SINGAPORE