Pope Francis on Thursday sent a video message to participants in the eleventh edition of the Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church taking place in the northern Italian city of Verona from 25 – 28 November.
The annual event is organized by an Italian-based lay forum engaged in promoting the Catholic social teachings at the grass-root level. This year’s event is titled” “Bold in hope – Creative with courage”.
Using our talents with courage
Commenting on the theme, Pope Francis noted that it summarizes the attitude needed to face the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. “Boldness, hope, creativity and courage”, he said, “are not synonymous, but represent a connection of intentions, virtues, openness and views of reality that strengthen the human soul”.
Recalling the parable of the talents, he remarked that, against all “do-goodism” and fatalism, Jesus invites us to use our talents with courage. “When we remain closed in on ourselves with the sole objective of preserving what exists, we are losers in the eyes of the Gospel”, he said.
Courage inspires new action
As an example of bold courage in the present difficult times, Pope Francis once again cited the many “ordinary people valiantly shaping the decisive events of our shared history: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caretakers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests and religious” (‘Fratelli tutti’ 54). “Here are talents put to use…. Here is the hope that sustains and guides creativity with boldness and courage, he said. Hope he further emphasized “is this boldness that inspires new actions, guides skills, stimulates commitment, gives life to life”.
Building change to build back better
Concluding his message, Pope Francis called on participants in the Festival to continue to follow the steps of Father Adriano Vincenzi, the animator of the first nine editions who passed away in February 2020: “As the slogan of this edition says: ‘Wherever you are, build change!’. Wherever you are, build change, because we know that we do not come out of the crisis the same: we come out better or worse”, he concluded.