Through his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father expressed his joy at the meeting and spoke of the city of Budapest as an "eloquent symbol" of the eventís theme. "The numerous bridges that span the Danube, that connect the settlements from Buda and Pest and make them a single unity, were destroyed during World War II," he reflected. "Yet, born from the ashes of that terrible conflict was the determination to build peace on lasting foundations, a determination that was the inspiration at the base of the foundation of the Focolare Movement. The bridges of the Danube were reconstructed and the international community was determined to eliminate once and for all the conditions that could lead to a future conflict."
Founded in 1943 by Chiara Lubich, the Focolare Movement has spread to more than 100 nations across the globe. The ecclesial movement focuses on the spirituality of unity and universal brotherhood. According to the official Web site of Genfest, the purpose of the youth gathering is "to show the world that universal brotherhood, a united world, is an Ideal worth living for."
The Pope expressed his desire that the meetingís presence in Budapest would encourage the ideal of bridging the gap among people of different cultures. "I hope that this most beautiful city will be a sign of hope to inspire all the young people present to offer a hand of friendship to those who come from other contexts and cultures, so as to give shape to the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it in some measure an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God," the papal message said.
The Genfest youth gathering also saw the launch of the United World Project. The project, which was conceived and developed by youth members of the movement, "aims to highlight and promote fraternity already under way by individuals, groups and nations." The United World Project is also set to begin a permanent international observatory recognized by the United Nations.