A series of international meetings of the “Bishops friends of the Focolare Movement” began, initially promoted by Mons. Klaus Hemmerle, Bishop of Aachen (Germany), to deepen the spirituality of unity and live an experience of “Effective and affective” collegiality. Bishop Hemmerle was considered by Chiara Lubich as a co-founder, both for his doctrinal contribution, and for establishing the branch of the Bishops who have spiritual ties with the Focolare Movement.
This branch was recognized with papal approval in 1998.
In 1982, at the request of John Paul II, the first international meeting of “Bishops friends of the Focolare Movement”, of various Churches and ecclesial communities took place.
On September 25, 2021, Pope Francis received the bishops friends of the Focolare, at the Hall of the Popes in the Vatican, encouraging them to “Live unity, the heart of Chiara Lubich’s charism, a charism that grew by attracting men and women of every language and nation with the strength of God’s love that creates unity not by nullifying differences, but rather by enhancing and harmonizing them”.

On 3 September 1982, Chiara Lubich spoke at the first annual international meeting of 'bishops friends of the Focolare Movement', from various Churches and ecclesial communities, at the encouragement of John Paul II.
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