Initiative of the Franciscans with the Opera, together with Caritas. Today, Wednesday 14 September, the feast of Santa Croce with one hundred special guests

A party in the name of hospitality, spirituality and art. One hundred special guests – all people who usually sit at Caritas canteens – celebrated the dedication of Santa Croce this morning together with Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, who presided over the concelebration, Father Giancarlo Corsini, rector of the basilica, and Cristina Acidini, president of the ‘Opera, to the director of Caritas, Riccardo Bonechi, to the president and director of the Caritas Solidarity Foundation, Vincenzo Lucchetti and Ginevra Chieffi, and to numerous volunteers. The mayor, Dario Nardella, the councilor for Welfare, Sara Funaro, the president of the municipal council Luca Milani and the directors of the Opera Giulio Conticelli and Paolo Ermini also participated.

A significant gesture, to celebrate the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, wanted by the Community of Conventual Friars Minor, promoted with the support of the Opera di Santa Croce and the precious support of the diocesan Caritas and the Caritas Solidarity Foundation.

“We have two precious indications for our testimony of the Gospel: the death of Jesus urges us to put ourselves on the side of all those who like him suffer injustice; one places oneself on the side of the Cross of Jesus when one embraces all suffering with love, a love without borders, until death ”, the archbishop affirmed in his homily. Cardinal Betori then recalled Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of the Poor: meeting the poor allows us to put an end to so many inconsistent anxieties and fears, to arrive at what really matters in life and that no one can steal from us: love. true and free. “This is what we have tried to do today: welcome those who live in poverty to allow ourselves to be converted to essentiality and love”, concluded Betori.

“We must be close to those who struggle and live in marginalization, responding to the appeal of Pope Francis who asks us to be with the poor and for the poor, with a spirit of integral human acceptance – underlined Father Giancarlo Corsini – not forgetting that there are so many forms of poverty, not only material, that the pandemic has dramatically highlighted ”.

The initiative was also born to share a heritage of beauty that belongs to everyone. “The Opera di Santa Croce has shared with great conviction, together with the Franciscan Community, the organization of this special welcome day and thanks the cardinal for his presence and Caritas for the precious collaboration – highlighted the president Acidini – The spiritual and artistic beauty of Santa Croce is everyone’s heritage and it is right to share it today with those who find themselves in a situation of particular difficulty in a time that, due to the pandemic and the war, has become even more difficult for many people”.

“We thank Cardinal Betori for the closeness he has shown us again this time and the Opera di Santa Croce for welcoming us – said the president of the Caritas Onlus Solidarity Foundation, Vincenzo Lucchetti – Every day our volunteers and employees are committed to help those most in need. Today is a just recognition for them too, as well as a great opportunity to be together “.

Riccardo Bonechi, director of the diocesan Caritas, also thanked for an initiative “which contributes to giving value to the welcome and closeness to people in a very special place”.

Many of the guests were passionate about, and excited, the explanations of the cultural mediators of the Opera who, after the mass, accompanied them to discover some places and symbolic works of the basilica. Then everyone for lunch, in the second cloister, with the menu developed by the Franciscans, by Caritas and by a restaurateur in the neighborhood.

The party was also characterized by the extraordinary and free opening in the afternoon for all visitors. The initiative is linked to the articulated project of renewed hospitality that involves the Franciscan Community and the Opera di Santa Croce with the aim of proposing to everyone to experience the monumental complex as an inhabited and alive place.

In the basilica was also exhibited the relic of the wood of the cross of Christ which would have been donated to the convent by Saint Louis of France, in 1258, together with the relic of the Thorn of Christ’s crown. The reliquary of the wood of the Cross, one of the most precious objects in the treasury of the Basilica, was made and signed at the beginning of the fourteenth century by the goldsmith Bertuccio da Venezia, former founder of one of the bronze doors of the basilica of San Marco.

Initiative of the Franciscans with the Opera, together with Caritas. Today, Wednesday 14 September, the feast of Santa Croce with one hundred special guests