Johor BAHRU – About 150 Catholics from Singapore, Malaysia and at least 10 other countries learnt more about the Eucharist through talks, testimonies, games and group activities.
They attended a Mariapolis (City of Mary) gathering, organised by the Focolare Movement at Majodi Centre, Johor, from May 30-June 1.
Mariapolis began in the 1950s, when the Focolare Movement founder, Chiara Lubich, along with several companions, travelled to northern Italy during the summer vacation to share their experiences of how they lived the Gospel.
Her initiaitive was so infectious that now, thousands take part in such Mariapolis gatherings held all over the world.
During the recent event centred around the theme, Eucharist – Mystery of Communion, children and youth played games and participated in group activities. To help the young participants put into practice the idea of encountering Jesus in the Eucharist, they also visited a home for the elderly.
The participants also attended spiritual talks held every morning by the regional directors who are in charge of the Focolare Movement in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
One such talk was from Mr Caloy Adams from the Philippines. He shared about Ms Lubich and what she experienced, as well as how the Eucharist is the cornerstone of the Focolare.
He added that Ms Lubich was able to consecrate herself to God as she wasn’t afraid to be alone with Jesus in the tabernacle.
Ms Nars Plaras, also from the Philippines, said that in order for the Eucharist to be applied to daily life, “we must have the great desire of union with Christ and with our brothers and sisters which the Eucharist achieves,” she added.
“We honour the Eucharist more through giving and loving our neighbours than with beautiful ceremonies, even if the latter is necessary.”
In the afternoons, there were different activities such as cooking class, drama, Brazilian dance and health talks. Even though the activities were not fully linked to the theme, it gave participants a chance to put into practice what they learnt in the morning – to encounter Jesus after receiving Holy Communion through loving one’s neighbours and listening to them.
On the last night of the three-day Mariapolis, participants showcased what they learnt during an activity called the Mariapolis Fest.
Participants said they benefited from the event.
Mr Gerald Kong from Singapore said that he “was reminded that the joy and radical simplicity of living out the Gospel through concrete acts of love is infectious and has the capacity to touch and transform lives”.
Ms Renato Gatsinga, a medical student in Singapore, said that the Mariapolis gave her a boost to “go back into the world and do my best to spread His love”.
Ms Martina Ng from the Church of Christ the King, shared that from the event, she learnt “how to forgive who made me angry in the past, not to bear grudges and to see them with new eyes”.
To follow the activities of Focolare Singapore, visit https://www.facebook.com/focolareSG