To the ends of the earth and of existence. Destiny has not left man alone.
“Man remains a mystery, irreducible to whatever image society creates and the power of the world tries to impose on him. Man is a mystery of freedom and grace, of poverty and greatness. […]This is the state of emergency of the human person the Meeting for the Friendship Among Peoples has chosen as its main theme this year: the urgency to give back man to himself, at his highest dignity, to his own uniqueness and preciousness of each human existence.”
Pope Francis’ message has accompanied us during the whole week with his judgment on the dramatic situation of man today: “We are poor in love, thirsty for truth and justice, beggars of God as wisely the servant of God, Father Luigi Giussani, has always underlined.” And with an indication of the path to walk on: “To give back man to himself, at his highest dignity, to his own uniqueness and preciousness of each human existence from his conception to the natural end of life. It is necessary to take into consideration again the sacredness of man and, at the same time, to strongly state that it is only in the relationship with God, that is, in the discovering and adhesion of one’s own vocation, that man can achieve his true stature.”
“I think about the young people that crowd the big Rimini fair and I wish them to give the contribution we all expect from the youngest generations to a new stage of development in Italy and Europe,” said President Napolitano in the video message which opened the Meeting. And he concluded: “I believe that the emergency we are all living [… ] concerns a very serious impoverishment of the spiritual and cultural sphere as well as a lack of human motivations, motivations that are not linked to immediate and materialistic interest. Who can react to this? Culture can, and the institutions too, much more than what they are doing now. Educational systems can, and the media much more than what they are doing. And also big social organizations, including the religious ones, can contribute very much. In this sense only a blind person won’t be able to see the contribution that comes from the Catholic Church.”
Many people who came to the Meeting have been struck by the depth of the messages proposed in more than 100 meetings, in the 5 big exhibitions, in the 7 exhibitions “Man at Work”, in the 23 shows. And moreover they have been struck by the attention of thousands of people that didn’t come to Rimini to take part in a summer tradition, but to look for an answer to the urgency of life, to the question: how does one live?
These days have been an opportunity to “meet everybody and not wait for the others to look for us!” The countless public and personal meetings have proved how much the Meeting doesn’t fear the other and the diversity, whatever it is – religious, ethnic, cultural, ideological. The aim of the Meeting has proved to be a place of encounter where everyone is considered a value. This is confirmed by the 800.000 people who came to the fair, to the meetings, and to the shows: visitors, speakers and guests that have lived the Meeting as if they were at home, in an environment of genuine respect for each individual, that has nothing to do with that abstract tolerance that sometimes leaves people indifferent towards each other.
“People who encounter it, live it”, says one speaker; and another comments “I had a new experience here, of not being blocked in front of the political and economic difficulties, but to leave the bunker, of pushing the windows wide open to see those things in reality that move and touch us”.
At the beginning of the Meeting, the Corriere della Sera recalled the words of Father Carròn said in May 2012, regarding the alternative between life as witness or as a pursuit for power, invinting us to the Riminese week because the “the fragile Italian society needs people that help it to reclaim its own values and start again”.
People who participated at the Meeting can judge whether the experience they had in Rimini was at the height of this challenge.
The witness that is offered to us by all those Chirstians in the world that are being persecuted and killed because of their faith has made us welcome the Pope’s cry and write the “Appeal For Persecuted Christians”, that in these days was signed by thousands people, first of all by the Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta. The collection of signatures will continue in the next months, in order to recommend it as a main point of discussion in the programm of the next semester of Italian Presidency in the Council of the European Union.
At the end of the Meeting we go back to our cities and to our Countries (more than 70) being more consciuos of man’s state of emergency and with the desire to offer our experience, even if fallible, because we’re sure that the path to a recovery is in “a real event in a man’s life” (don Giussani).
We want to keep on meeting anybody, aware that “until we do not bring Jesus to people, we would have done too little for them” and that “man is the way of the Church.”
This is the reason why the title of the XXXV Meeting for Friendship Amongst Peoples, which is being held in Rimini from the 24th to the 30th of August 2014, is “To the ends of the earth and of existence. Destiny has not left man alone.”