Oil From Seized Mafia Estate to Be Blessed

VATICAN CITY, MAR. 29, 2001 (Zenit.org).- During the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, a cardinal will bless oil produced in Sicilian lands confiscated from the Mafia, and will allocate the oil to the administration of sacraments.

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The initiative was proposed by Father Luigi Ciotti, founder of the Libera Association, which includes 700 organizations committed to the struggle against the Mafia.

The oil comes from the plains of the Castelvetrano estate in Sicily, which was confiscated from Mafia chief Bernardo Provenzano.

«I think the ecclesial meaning of this operation is obvious: to transform into a sacrament, namely, into an instrument of salvation, what was an instrument of sin, violence, prevarication, death and abuse,» Father Ciotti told L´Osservatore Romano.

Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin accepted the proposal immediately. «It makes me very happy that during the Chrism Mass in Turin, this sign can encourage all of us in the construction of a more just society,» he said.

The Castelvetrano olives are now cultivated by the Abel agricultural cooperative group, a therapeutic community founded by Father Ciotti, for the rehabilitation of youths, most of whom are drug addicts.

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