Giavera Festival – “You are helping to spread a culture of welcoming migrants”, says Pope Francis

Thank you for letting me know the experience of your festival, in particular through the words of Father Bruno (1), whom I sincerely thank, but above all through your presence, your faces. Thank you !

I was struck to read the list of associations and groups of migrants who take part in this initiative and carry it out: we see that the house Father Bruno spoke of, your reception house, is a house with many windows. open to the world! Thus, the Giavera Festival has become a crossroads, a place of meeting, of dialogue, of mutual knowledge. And also a place where to share hope, the dream of a more fraternal world.

It is beautiful and very significant that your Festival was born and always reborn from an experience of cohabitation. It was not born around a 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 – that, yes – your initiative was born from the desire to make known the lived experience, to make it circulate in the social fabric, to help spread a welcoming culture. A culture of hospitality against the culture of waste. We need it so badly! Because the reality of migration in our time has 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 instrumentalized also within geopolitical conflicts. They then cease to be people and become numbers. This is why it is more than ever necessary to have places where the faces, stories, songs, prayers and art of migrants are placed at the center.

This morning I received the Prime Minister of Albania who told me that the first Constitution in Albania – it goes back a hundred years, a hundred years ago? – said that you had to open to the one who knocks at your door, because it was God. And this is where the humanity of the Albanians comes from when they receive migrants. This thought touched me: the one who knocks at your door is God. Open up to him and leave your 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? It is therefore important that your experiences are also made available to good politics, to help those who have government responsibilities at the local, national or international level to make choices that always know how to combine healthy realism with respect for dignity. people. I saw one of the signs you brought on the torture that migrants undergo when they are caught by traffickers. And this is happening today. We cannot close our eyes! The dignity of people. That is why your festival, like other similar initiatives in Italy and in different countries, should not be reduced to a folkloric event or a gathering of idealists. No ! I say this as a matter of reflection and verification for yourselves. We can ask ourselves, after thirty years: has our experience succeeded, and to what extent, in having an impact in terms of political choices, by dialoguing with institutions and with civil society? It seems important to me to ask this question.

Dear friends, with you, I give thanks above all to the Lord for the journey he has given you to realize during these years through the experience of the Festival. I wish you to move forward with an ever renewed spirit. I suggest that you take as a model Abraham, whom God called to leave and who remained a migrant all his life. Abraham is a “father” whom we as Christians share with Jews and Muslims, but he is a figure in which all men and women can recognize themselves who see life as a journey in search of peace. the Promised Land, land of freedom and peace in which to live together, as brothers.

Thank you for your visit. May the Lord bless you and may the Virgin Mary protect you. And please don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.


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