Vatican to Project a Video of the Life of the 1st Pope, St. Peter, on the Facade of St. Peter's Basilica as Part of an Art and Faith Initiative - FULL Conference

On October 2nd, the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, will be lit up, with a video projection depicting the life of St. Peter as part of the “Art and Faith” initiatives organized by St. Peter’s Basilica’s pastoral groups. On Sunday, the 2nd of October at 9 pm, a special video showing the life of St. Peter will be projected onto the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica. “Follow me” is part of a new “Art and Faith” program organized by the pastoral side of St. Peter’s Basilica to examine and contemplate the life and influence of the great saint. The projections will run every day from the 2nd of October to the 16th of October, lasting approximately 8 minutes. (Vatican News Excerpt)
On September 19th, the Press Conference for the presentation of the "Holiness Today" Study Conference promoted by the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints took place in live streaming from the Holy See Press Office, which will take place in Rome, at Augustinianum Patristic Institute, from 3 to 6 October 2022:

Intervento dell’ Card. Marcello Semeraro

Holiness is a theme dear to Pope Francis. In his pontificate the number of canonized saints is growing more and more and he himself "on the call to holiness in the contemporary world" wrote the apostolic exhortation Gaudete et exsultate in 2018, proposing "to incarnate it in the current context, with its risks, its challenges and its opportunities "(n. 2). The conference "Holiness today" arises from the request to put the issues on which work for the Causes of beatification and canonization is carried out on a daily basis with the world of today. It is not an “alternative” moment, neither to what the Dicastery does every day, nor to the moments of exchange and formation that are organized and held internally. For the Dicastery, organizing a conference means carrying out a task of investigation and study, capable of involving experts in theology and spirituality, society and communication, in order to carry out its "service" in a more complete way (cf. Praedicate Evangelium, I , 8 and II, 1). In the past, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has organized moments of reflection open to all, talks and symposia on specific themes of canonized holiness, such as scientific issues - think of the Colloquium Medicorum of 1988 - or more spiritual aspects - for example, Eucharist, Holiness and Sanctification in the year 2000. The intention is to make these appointments more regular now.

The task of the Dicastery is not to "manage" holiness, but to recognize it through specific and coordinated phases of discernment. This is why it has been chosen that this year's conference focuses on two essential aspects of the causes of beatification and canonization. The first aspect is that of the "reputation of holiness", which must be ascertained prior to the instruction of any diocesan inquiry on a Servant of God. The "reputation of holiness" combines two nuances: on the one hand, the belief of the faithful about the holiness of a person, conviction that arises from the perception of an exceptionality and has as a consequence the request for intercession for one's own or the needs of others; on the other hand, the capacity that this exceptionality awakens in the People of God the consciousness of all being called to be Saints: what the Second Vatican Council called "universal vocation to holiness" (LG, chap. V). Canonized holiness, which proposes intercessors and models to inspire to the Church, has mainly this aim: through the identification of exemplary figures, who go beyond ordinary life, to call the baptized to live their everyday life in a holy way. St. John Henry Newman, in his Prayers and Meditations, proposed his Short way to perfection (27 Sept. 1856): "Perfect is he who does his daily actions perfectly, and to find perfection we do not have there is no need to go beyond these limits ».

The second theme on which the Conference intends to dwell is connected to this first aspect. It is a reflection on the meaning of Christian "heroism". From the earliest centuries the Church has safeguarded first of all the memory of her martyrs and then also of her "confessors", as true "heroes" of the faith. Now, it is a question of understanding what heroicism means today, especially in relation to the exercise of virtues, martyrdom and the offering of life. The Second Vatican Council again writes: "In the life of those who, although they participate in our human nature, are nevertheless more perfectly transformed into the image of Christ, God manifests his presence and his face to men in a living light". In Gaudete et exsultate Pope Francis explains that "in the processes of beatification and canonization, the signs of heroism in the exercise of virtues, the sacrifice of life in martyrdom and also the cases in which an offering of one's life has occurred are taken into consideration. for others, kept until death. This donation expresses an exemplary imitation of Christ, and is worthy of the admiration of the faithful "(n. 5).
It is easy to understand that a definition of Christian heroism has a very particular resonance in the current cultural context, where so often the relative seems to prevail over truth and instability prevails over any courageous life project.

Therefore, I sincerely hope that our Conference on "Holiness Today" marks an important moment of reflection on the Causes of beatification and canonization and this not only for the work that the Dicastery carries out, but also for the repercussions that it inevitably has. for the believing conscience of the People of God.

Intervention of H.E. Mons. Fabio Fabene

The program of the Convention is divided into four days, during which 11 speeches, 5 communications and 2 round tables are planned. In addition to our Cardinal Prefect and myself, the Excellencies Mons. Bruno Forte and Mons. Orazio Francesco Piazza will speak. Religious men and women will also participate, as well as university professors and personalities of communication. The conclusion of the conference will be an audience with Pope Francis on Thursday 6 October.

On the afternoon of October 3, after the start of work by His Eminence Cardinal Semeraro, the work will focus on the theme of holiness and holiness today. The address was entrusted to the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto. He will then speak, together with the Bishop of Sessa Aurunca, Dr. Marco Tarquinio, Director of Avvenire.

The following days will focus on the two aspects of Christian heroism (October 4) and the reputation of holiness (day 5).

In the morning of the first day, 4 religious, all university professors, were invited to speak. They will talk about how the Saints cannot be relegated to the past, but are a constant presence in the life of the Church; of how holiness is always an urgent call and a decisive proposal for mankind of every age. At the same time, attention will be paid to the Beatitudes, as the Holy Father did by dedicating a large part of Gaudete et exsultate to a rereading of the Beatitudes according to Matthew. Pope Francis writes: «The Beatitudes are in no way something light or superficial; on the contrary, we can only experience them if the Holy Spirit pervades us with all his power and frees us from the weakness of selfishness, laziness, pride "(n. 65).

The afternoon session will include three moments.
The first will investigate the relationship between the universal call to holiness and canonizable holiness. In the second there will be a comparison between holiness and two cultural paradigms, the culture of life and the throwaway culture; Prof. Andrea Riccardi, Founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio will deal with the latter topic. Finally, Prof. Francesco Giorgino, professor of communication at LUISS Guido Carli in Rome, will moderate the round table with some of the speakers.

Wednesday 5 October the day will be dedicated to deepening the theme of the reputation of holiness, with a particular look at new technologies and the most current forms of social communication. Today we cannot speak of a "reputation for holiness" without taking into account the popularization potential of the new tools, which have become not only available but also increasingly popular. While on the one hand they can artificially create a "fame", for which careful discernment is required, on the other hand we know the contribution that, for example, social networks have in spreading ideas, proposing models and suggesting life ideals. A young man like Carlo Acutis knew this, who became Blessed in 2020, who put his passion for modern means of communication at the service of the Gospel; not surprisingly, he is one of the most famous young blesseds in the world, known and venerated everywhere.

In the morning we will be accompanied by the reflections of Prof. Cecilia Costa, of Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., former Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, and of Prof. Mario Morcellini.

In the afternoon a theologian, a journalist and the director of the Vatican Museums will offer, each for its own specificity, three different faces of the reputation of holiness today. The round table will then follow, moderated by Mons. Dario Viganò.

This is an intense program, which we would like not so much to exhaust the topic, but to offer ideas for carrying out the study and reflection on these issues, which guide the work of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints. If I were to grasp a transversal element of the whole Conference, it seems to me that the theme of culture is decisive. The challenge is to find ways in which the Church and the world can share a religious and ethical code of concepts and experiences. I always remember a phrase that St. Paul VI wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi at n. 20: "The rupture between the Gospel and culture is undoubtedly the drama of our age". The Saints of our time, with the concreteness of their witness, in fact contribute to overcoming that dramatic gap. The Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, with its daily work and with the organization of this conference, wants to make this certainty its own.
Intervention of Prof. Cecilia Costa
 Each era has proposed its own interpretations of life and death, good and evil, eternity and truth. Each historical context has generated its own saints. Even in our advanced modernity characterized by a continuous metamorphosis, an anorexia of meanings, an excess of technique and a historical acceleration, there is room for holiness. An era, ours, which, on the one hand, offers ample communication and technological possibilities and, on the other hand, produces socio-anthropological, symbolic-value dysfunctions, so much so that: happiness has contracted into the mythology of consumption; faith has become a non-binding personal preference; time is summed up in a single a-chronical dimension, of the here and now; freedom is understood as a "right" to overcome any limit, obligation, rule.
However, precisely in today's cultural crisis, in which we are witnessing the decomposition of every canon, assumption and truth, "the yearning for the infinite" (Card. Bergoglio) is making its way again; we are looking for a hope beyond time and we need witnesses of the faith, who manifest this hope that goes "beyond" the immanent horizon (Spe salvi). Today, more than ever, there is a need for saints - who were warriors, martyrs, initiators of monastic orders, bishops, popes and, in post-modernity, are people "next door" - because the example of their "fullness of life" can help contemporary humanity to reconcile the secularity of the world with the radicalism of the Gospel (paraphrasing St. Thomas). Proper in our historical complexity, surrendered to a self-sufficient humanism, the importance of the presence of the saints is felt, because they are the authentic interpreters of the love that saves.
Contemporary reality needs hope, love, energy and the courage of holiness because, as Pope Francis writes in Gaudete et exsultate, the saints testify to an experience that is "counter-current" with respect to the logic of the moment. Just think of Teresa of Avila who in her text, The Interior Castle, she was able to give an answer both to the existential anguish of the men of her time and to the vertigo of meaning of modern humanity. Or, suffice it to recall Pier Giorgio Frassati who, responding with conviction to God's call of love, managed in his short life to combine the extraordinary with the ordinary. Or, again, Carlo Acutis who explained to his peers, the millennials, how love for Jesus can coexist with a passion for the internet.
The saints are not a legacy of the past, but a project for the future, because they have always been the "heroes" of altruistic and creative love which, as Sorokin emphasized, has "the Sermon on the Mount" as its "sublime model".
The saints are in history but they also make history and their "holy history" can make possible a cultural, social, individual "conversion" from selfishness to altruism capable of restoring harmony, solidarity, brotherhood and goodness to the world.