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Pope Francis greets organizers of the Giàvera Festival Pope Francis greets organizers of the Giàvera Festival  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis: Giàvera Festival helps spread culture of welcome

Pope Francis greets organizers of the Giàvera Festival, an annual event in the northern Italian city of Treviso that promotes dialogue and encounter between peoples and cultures.

By Christopher Wells

The Giàvera Festival, which takes place every year in the northern Italian city of Treviso, is “a house of welcome, a house with many windows open on the world” according to its founder, Father Bruno Baratto. The event was established in 1996 to promote dialogue and encounters between different peoples and cultures, offering testimonies, discussions, and artistic performances with the involvement of over 40 associations working with migrants.

Greeting organizers of the Festival on Saturday morning at the Vatican, Pope Francis took up the words of Don Bruno, noting that the Giàvera Festival “has become a crossroads, a place to meet, to dialogue to get to know each other. It is also a place where we can share hope, the dream of a more fraternal world.”

Spreading a culture of welcome

The Holy Father expressed his appreciation that the Festival “was born, and is always reborn, from an experience of coexistence,” of sharing the “stories, problems, and wealth of humanity, traditions, cultures, and faith” of migrants.

The initiative, he noted, “stems from a desire to make their experiences known” and “to spread a culture of welcome,” which is so necessary in today’s world. The “complex” reality of migration, the Pope said, “has taken on characteristics that can sometimes be frightening,” such as the exploitation of migrants by criminal groups. Migrants “cease to be people and become numbers,” he said, adding that it is now more necessary than ever that there be “places where the faces, stories, songs, prayers, and art of migrants are put at the centre.”

Healthy realism and respect for human dignity

However, the Pope continued, this does not mean “hiding or ignoring the difficulties and problems” associated with migration. He explained that events like the Festival must therefore be made known to and inspire leaders at every level, to help them make choices “that combine healthy realism with respect for the dignity of people.” He invited his listeners, and all of us, to ask ourselves, “Has our experience succeeded, and to what extent, in influencing political choices, in dialogue with the institutions and with civil society.”

Pope Francis encouraged the organizers to take as their model the Biblical patriarch Abraham, “who, at the call of God departed his homeland and remained a migrant throughout his life.” Abraham, he said, “is a figure in whom all men and women who see life as a journey in search of the promised land, a land of freedom and peace, where they can live together as brothers and sisters, and can recognise themselves.”

Photogallery

Photogallery - Audience for Organisers of the Giàvera Festival
27 November 2021, 12:10