Pope Francis says "This thought touched me: the one who knocks on your door is God. Open it for him and leave a place for Him." FULL TEXT
GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THE INTERCULTURAL FESTIVAL
OF GIÀVERA DEL MONTELLO
Saturday, November 27, 2021
Dear brothers and sisters!
I thank you for letting me know the experience of your Festival, also through the words of Fr. Bruno, whom I sincerely thank, but above all with your presence, with your faces. Welcome!
I was struck by reading the list of associations and groups of migrants that participate in this initiative and carry it forward: you can see that the house Fr. Bruno spoke of, your welcome home, is a house with many windows open to the world. ! And so the Giavera Festival has become a crossroads, a place for meeting, for dialogue, for mutual understanding. It is also a place to share hope, the dream of a more fraternal world.
It is beautiful and very significant that your Festival was born and is always reborn from an experience of coexistence . It was not born at the table, on the basis of an ideological project, but from days, months, years of sharing with migrants. With their stories, with their problems, and above all with their baggage of humanity, traditions, culture, faith ...
And then - yes - your initiative stems from the desire to make known the lived experience, to make it circulate in the social fabric, to help spread a welcoming culture. Culture of hospitality versus the culture of waste. There is so much need! Because the reality of migration in our time has taken on characteristics that can sometimes be frightening. Objectively, the phenomenon is very complex, and unfortunately there are criminal groups that take advantage of it; migrants risk being exploited even within geopolitical conflicts. Then they cease to be persons and become numbers. Therefore there is more than ever a need for places in which the faces, stories, songs, prayers and art of migrants are put at the center.
This morning I received the Prime Minister of Albania and he told me that the first Constitution in Albania - a hundred years ago dates back to a hundred years ago? - he said that to anyone who knocks on the door you must open it, because it is God. And from there, the humanity that Albanians have in receiving migrants. This thought touched me: the one who knocks on your door is God. Open it for him and leave a place for Him.
This way of seeing the reality of migration does not mean hiding or ignoring the difficulties and problems. Who better than you knows them and can testify to them? And therefore it is important that your experiences are also made available to good politics , to help those with government responsibilities at local, national and international level to make choices that always know how to combine healthy realism with respect for people's dignity.. I saw one of the paintings you brought, about the torture that migrants suffer when those traffickers take them. And this happens today. We can't close our eyes! The dignity of people. This is why your Festival, like other similar initiatives in Italy and in various countries, should not be reduced to a folkloric event or a gathering of idealists. No, I also say this as a food for thought and verification for yourselves. We can ask ourselves, after thirty years: has our experience been able, and to what extent, to affect the level of political choices, dialoguing with institutions and civil society? It seems important to me to ask ourselves this question.
Dear friends, above all I thank the Lord with you for the journey he has given you to make in recent years through the experience of the Festival. I wish you to move forward with an ever-renewed spirit. I propose that you take Abraham as a model, whom God called to leave and who always remained a migrant throughout his life. Abraham is a "father" that as Christians we share with Jews and Muslims, but he is a figure in which all men and women can recognize themselves who conceive life as a journey in search of the promised land, a land of freedom and peace, where live together as brothers.
Thanks for your visit. The Lord bless you and Our Lady protect you. And please don't forget to pray for me. Thanks.