For a 2023 of hope and peace

“Before starting this catechesis, I would like us to join those nearby who are paying homage to Benedict xvi and turn my thoughts to him, who was a great teacher of catechesis”. With these words, Pope Francis “embraced” all the people who this morning lived the experience of meeting and listening in the Paul Hall you for the general audience and also the experience of gratitude and affection, in the style of prayer, for the homage to the Pope Emeritus in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Francis gave “voice” to the catechesis that Benedict xvi he proposed – and continues to propose even in these hours – with “his acute and polite thought” which “was not self-referential, but ecclesial, because he always wanted to accompany us to an encounter with Jesus”. Precisely “Jesus, the Crucified and Risen One, the Living One and the Lord – Francis said at the beginning of the catechesis – was the goal to which Pope Benedict led us, taking us by the hand. Help us to rediscover in Christ the joy of believing and the hope of living”.

Then, addressing the German pilgrims, the Pontiff relaunched the guiding words of Benedict’s apostolic journey xvi in München, Altötting and Regensburg (9-14 September 2006) Those who believe are never alone!: «In these days we experience in a particular way how universal this community of faith is and that it doesn’t even end with death».

The commitment of Catholic teachers for Italian students

They came, right at the beginning of the new year, to relaunch their commitment as teachers with Pope Francis, for a 2023 that will be one of hope and peace. This morning, in the Paul Hall you the approximately 400 members of the Italian Association of Catholic Teachers (Aimc) gathered in Rome since yesterday, Tuesday 3 January, were present for the 22nd National Congress on the theme “Aimc on the way … listening, sharing, innovation” which will end tomorrow , Thursday 5.

With them also a delegation of teachers from Romania, accompanied by two bishops.

“We are here, in this time of great challenges, to bear witness to the importance of the presence and commitment of Catholic teachers in Italian schools”, explains the national president of AIMC, Giuseppe Desideri, according to whom “the primary objective is and must be the growth, within the educational process, of boys and girls, of male and female students who attend the classrooms of our country every day”.

At the opening of the Congress, with the presence, among others, of Giuseppe Valditara, Minister of Education and Merit, and Antonio Tajani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the Italian Council of Ministers, «we received a video greeting from Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference,” Desideri said.

In the afternoon, in the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin will preside over Mass for the participants in the congress.

The mission of the Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity

The first to enter the Paul Hall you it was the Sisters of the Holy Trinity (Trinitarian) from Italy, the United States of America, the Philippines and Madagascar. With them the mother general, M. Augustine Razafiarisoa, and the vicar general of the order of the Holy Trinity and of the Slaves, father Aldo Berardi.

“We are in Rome – says Sister Valeria Marchi – these days, from 3 to 7 January, for a training conference on spirituality and service in daily life” in these countries where, for over 250 years, the Trinitarian sisters have been on mission . Yesterday, all together, the nuns were in St. Peter’s Basilica to pray before the body of the Pope Emeritus.

Young Spanish farmers in defense of the environment

“We want to take this opportunity to tell the Holy Father that we feel like his allies also in 2023 in the fight against climate change, in the work of reducing food waste and in the fight against poverty”. This is how José María Castilla explains the presence in the Chamber of a delegation of the agricultural association of young Spanish farmers and breeders (Asaja) of which he is director and representative in Brussels, at the European Union.

“We feel we are guarantors of the conservation of the natural environment and we work daily to produce food in a sustainable, convenient, safe, quality way and with the greatest possible abundance so that everyone can enjoy it” continues Castilla, underlining the importance of a “balanced” Mediterranean diet or “balanced”, as it prevents both nutritional deficiencies and excesses, both of which are harmful.

Spanish farmers and breeders donated to the Pope a package of “Jamón ibérico Patanegra”, the renowned ham – obtained from pure-bred Iberian pigs fed only on acorn and grass-based pastures – from the province of Salamanca, in the Castile region and Leon.

The pastoral testimonies of two Italian parishes

“For over 30 years, within the parish of the cathedral of Montebelluna, in the province of Treviso, we have been organizing beach holidays “for” and above all “with” the disabled for an experience of concrete inclusion”. This was stated by the animators of the parish group “Papì Urrà”, founded in 1980 by Alessandro Di Turi, who this morning accompanied a dozen people with disabilities to meet Francis.

With Di Turi also the two leaders, Andrea Celato and Manuele Cervis, and Don Enrico Garbuio, a native of Montebelluna and in the past an educator in the parish, now engaged in the bosom of the Italian Episcopal Conference. In recounting “a truly strong experience of faith”, Di Turi presents in particular “the journey made together by animators and the disabled, in a “one to one” relationship, also with the aid of videos, to live the confession authentically, which thus becomes a beautiful moment, characterized by simplicity».

The approximately fifty seventh graders who have as their point of reference the San Giovanni Bosco oratory in the parish of San Pietro Apostolo in Trescore Balneario, in the province of Bergamo, made themselves heard, and also seen. With enthusiasm, they say, “we have come to start the new year ‘in a big way’, with hope, with the Pope’s blessing”. Accompanying them was the parish vicar and catechist, Fr Ivan Giupponi, who, together with the other catechists also present, was preparing them for Confirmation.

Of Fabrizio Peloni

For a 2023 of hope and peace – L’Osservatore Romano