Mariapolis Nuova Legge – Ottmaring – Germany

28 September 2016

Ecumenical Focolare Little Town

A characteristic of the Focolare in Germany is that right from the start there were meetings with Evangelical Christians (the bruderschäfte [fraternities], the nuns of Mary from Darmstadt). In the 60s there were numerous meetings with important people and members of various Churches. From that time to today, Christians of different Churches have found their place in different groups within the Focolare. They find there an inspiration for their lives, and an encouragement to work for and to deepen unity among Christians.

On the basis of these relationships between Christians of different Churches, common initiatives have taken place and there has been real development at a community level. Among these there is the Centre for Ecumenical Life at Ottmaring, near Augsburg. Its founders and leaders are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Brethren of the Common Life and Focolare members. Ottmaring has become one the Focolare’s ‘little towns’ with a profoundly ecumenical character. It has had the blessing of both Lutheran and Catholic authorities and it now has 120 people permanently committed to it and linked to it in a variety of ways.

In the summer months, European young people take the opportunity to share for a time in the life of the little town. In 1999 the ecumenical experience of Ottmaring led to the initiative ‘Together for Europe’, a network of movements and Christian communities that includes Evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Free Church members.

“Summer in Ottmaring”

It is the title we give to our invited young people during the summer period (duration 2 3 4 weeks):

The program as characterstics has alternation insights on the spiritual life and the application of them in the concrete life of every day.

In all these years we have tried to offer a varied program with the involvement of the interiors (priests, volunteers, families) and adapting it to the needs expressed by young people: in the center the desire to come to our citadel during the summer for a period of 2 to 4 weeks. They are young people who attend the school, the university, live submerged in the tram-tram of every day. Despite trying something different, many of them come with the desire to practice and perfect the German language. In this context, we offer them a “spiritual and human formation” by taking one or more points of the collective spirituality.

First of all will tell u about the life in the Ottmaring citadel: a city like all the others that have a special law: the law of reciprocal love and we propose to them to live it together. Then there are moments to get to know and understand their expectations towards the summer period in the citadel.

Center of experience is actually to live concretely , in an organized way, according to the the seven aspects:

• Punctuality at work, do it well

• Know the different realities of the citadel: the families, focolarini, a priest focolarini, through dinners together you create opportunities for exchange of experiences which allow more extensive dialogue between the generations

• Visit to the Evangelical community, present in Ottmaring, to hear the story of the coexistence between the two movements

• common daily moment with a thought as a motto of every day and, as far as possible the participation in the ecumenical prayer that takes place daily in the ecumenical center of the citadel.

• To live in harmony with one another everyday life: to cook, clean the house, moments of relaxation, trips etc.

There is also the opportunity to participate in the Holy Catholic Mass donating their talents: singing, playing etc.

• Giulia – Italy: “I just turned 18, but I did not feel mature enough. Now after this experience I feel mature and responsible “;

• Ariana – Italy: “I wouldn’t have thought in such a beautiful experience. The day was very organised, did not think I will have time for myself, but there was time for everything, I learned how to manage my time … “;

• Ilaria – Italy: “What a beautiful experience. It is literally a family experience. “

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