To school to practice leadership of communion
Second stage of an innovative training course to become community animators
by Aurelio Molè
The new life is born from a transformation. The metamorphosis of the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly can also become a metaphor for the evolving life of the local Focolare communities in Italy. A real restructuring process takes place in the chrysalis which leads to the birth of a butterfly that will take flight.
A training school, held on 1-2 October, on leadership of communion for the animators of the Focolare communities in Italy, with about 800 participants gathered in 30 groups in presence and some via Zoom, they were like the envelope, the chrysalis, to mature and initiate new processes to continue on the path of renewal to bring the radical nature of the Gospel with creativity and enthusiasm.
Chrysalis derives from khrysós “Gold”, due to the golden aspect of the casing. And we know that gold is forged in the crucible. The incubator of a community grows in an exchange of ideas, relationships, encounters, daily life, contacts, which must “caress the conflict”, with the possibility of confronting each other, clashing, in an authentic dialogue, with parrhesia, touching the heart of the their passions, feelings, thoughts with truth to bring forth a new creature, a new attention to oneself, to the needs of the other, to the territory to seek, walking together, possible answers that cannot be measured in quantitative results, but qualitative because they are fertilized by a mutual generative love.
To get new or old communities off the ground, you need leaders of communion. Not old-fashioned leaders all decision-making, personality, character, but animators who, in order to possess a communal style, must first have experienced it in order to pass it on to others and be able to put it into practice. This explains the setting of the leadership school of communion methodologically set up to make sure to experience walking together, each with their own talents and passions, for a common mission to be achieved. It was first of all an experience with the characteristic of lightness where humor is not intended as fat superficiality but “a medicine – as Pope Francis said – that makes” things relativize and gives you great joy “. It allows you to lower your defenses, to relax to be more true, to feel unjudged, to capture and keep your attention longer, to work together with sympathy knowing that we all have strengths and limitations, but we only compensate each other in a consortium. , with the strength of the group, like in a football team, where we support and help each other. It’s the group that will make the difference, not the single Hollywood thriller hero.
The figure of the leader, even in society, is changing towards a new type of man and woman capable of relationships. During a previous formative appointment, Jesús Morán, co-president of the Focolare, had defined the leaders of communion as people, determined, convinced, energetic, but capable «To privilege the” we “over the pure” I “. Conscious, therefore, that strength comes from corporativeness and not from atomization. People who arouse consensus, who reverse the trend of unnerving competitiveness and find space for everyone, even for the weakest, especially for them. With this type of leadership, everyone’s talents come to the surface and aren’t buried in envy. The leader of communion favors listening to speaking, leaving things to do, time to space, meekness to violence, service to profit, love to selfishness, agreement to imposition, wisdom to ideology”.
The two days unfolded smoothly with a method that included six short introductory videos from Jonathan Michelon And Giampietro Parolin, experts in leadership and decision-making processes, on topics such as the various typical characters of our communities, from the organizer to the critic, passing through the absenteeist, continuing to define that life, relationships, personal contacts come from an illness typical of the Focolare, “the encounter”. Symptoms treatable only with the knowledge of the protagonists of the local communities, their passions, needs and talents. Another video compared the passions and talents of the community to a cocktail, to be mixed and blended well, like a drink full of spirit, this time Santo, which must guide the community. Being our teachers from Veneto, alcoholic metaphors are not accidental. Shortly after, in fact, they compare the leadership to a good sparkling white wine. Could it be a hidden advertisement for Prosecco?
The speech, however, is serious and does not make a turn. Leadership like a good wine needs a glass that makes it open and transparent, it needs a good fermentation, ideas that have the time to be born, mature, grow in a vineyard, humus, on which the community life.
The ideas must therefore be collected, cataloged in order to subsequently undertake a process in which decisions are made together according to the rules of the game that have been independently chosen in a clear way for everyone.. The important thing is not to be self-referential, but to carry out projects that respond to the real needs of people and the territory. Some initiatives end up in the local community, others overflow in the same riverbed with other cities, or converge on a national level. The importance is to calculate your strengths well, the steps that can be taken, otherwise we build towers that cannot be completed. It is better to carry out a small project where enthusiasm is created, a word that derives from the Greek: en inside tea God. The god inside.
In the school there were no lectures, with videos, Power points, but immediately after the short videos, we moved on to sharing, exchanging ideas, searching for key words to highlight based on stimulus questions. Also because a leader of communion knows how to listen, is at the service, highlights the inspirations of others, values talents, differences and knows how to harmonize them, knows how to grasp needs and manage inevitable conflicts. As long as there is conflict there is life and there is hope. Without conflict it is an already dead community. In this way, local communities can start a community discernment, from below, in a small way trying to highlight, based on the culture of trust and not suspicion how can you act on a territory, what is the cry to answerwith love, creativity, audacity.
Some impressions of the participants who liked the contents and the working method were encouraging. “In our communities of Treviso, Venice and Belluno sometimes the “heating”, which apparently could create more disorder, actually allows us to “fix” the relations between us“. From Abruzzo they write: “There is an air of new freedom compared to the previous period; as an action we plan to map the needs of the city and collect the availability of people; insert the humorous aspect in every community activity, so as to create the right conditions for going even in depth“. In Friuli-Venezia-Giulia: «The novelty of the videos followed by the questions that will serve as a stimulus for the whole year was greatly appreciated. We said to ourselves that it would be important to transmit this heritage to all the members of the local communities, to make them participate directly in this evolutionary phase of the Focolare “. “Basically it’s simple – they say in Rome – a change of perspective is needed: look for the other and work on connections ».
Questions in groups
To know more
AA.VV., Called to be a community: a guide to living a spirituality of communion, Città Nuova, Rome, 2021
This guide can be used in communities, in groups of the Word of Life, in groups in the parish. . . The emphasis will be on learning how to live the gospel in the spirit of fellowship, at home, at work, among friends and in the community. Each of the 12 points of the spirituality of unity, such as “God is Love” or “God’s will”, is seen from the perspective of communion. For each point, experiences of the Gospel lived by people of all ages and vocations in their commitment to live a spirituality of communion are then presented. Find the book here:
Luigino Bruni – The fragile community – Città Nuova
An inspired text that helps to read the community experience in its shadows, in its lights, in the perspectives we have before us.
Elena Granata – Placemaker, the inventors of the places we will live in – Einaudi
Johnny Dotti – Chiara Nogarotto – Generating places of life – Paulines
Barbara Sgarzi – Wine, women and leadership – Sole24ore
Olivier Sibony – You are about to make a terrible mistake! How to avoid the traps of thought – Raffaello Cortina
David Perkins – The wisdom of King Arthur, the round table as a metaphor for creating intelligent organizations – Etas