Below is a translation of Pope Francis’ video-message sent to the International Center of the Focolares of Loppiano for the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Citadel.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, all inhabitants of Loppiano, good evening.
With you I also greet all the persons that today populate the citadel desired by Chiara Lubich, inspired in the Gospel of fraternity – a universal fraternity – and those who from every corner of the world are connected and taking part in the celebration of the first 50 years of its foundation.
Loppiano is a reality that lives at the service of the Church and of the world, for which we thank the Lord; a citadel which is a living and effective testimony of communion among persons of different nations, cultures and vocations, having first of all care, in daily living, to maintain among you mutual and continuous charity.
I am happy that you chose for this event the day in which the whole Church celebrates Saint Francis of Assisi, witness and architect of peace and fraternity. It is, truly, also a happy coincidence for me.
The inhabitants of Loppiano, those who live there permanently and those who spend a period of experience and formation there, want to become experts in mutual hospitality and in dialogue, agents of peace, generators of fraternity.
Continue with renewed impulse on this path. I hope you will be able to remain faithful and be able to incarnate ever better the prophetic objective of this citadel, which blossomed from the charism of unity, in fact, 50 years ago. To live the objective in profound harmony with the message of Vatican Council II, which was then being held, that is, to witness in mutual love to all the light and wisdom of the Gospel. Loppiano, therefore, is a school of life in which there is only one teacher: Jesus.
Yes, a city-school of life to make the world hope again, to witness that the Gospel is truly the leaven and salt of the new civilization of love. However, because of this, drawing the spiritual lymph of the Gospel, one must imagine and experience a new culture in all fields of social life: in the family, in politics, in the economy, that is, the culture of relations. The beginning of wisdom is the sincere desire of instruction, the care of instruction is love. It is no accident that Loppiano has had its headquarters for some years in the Sophia University Institute, erected by the Holy See. There is an urgent need, in fact, of young people, of men and women that, beyond being adequately prepared in the various disciplines, are at the same time permeated by the wisdom that flows from the love of God.
Dear friends, it is my heartfelt hope that Loppiano and all of you will look ahead and always look ahead, that you look ahead and aim high with trust, courage and imaginationno mediocrity.
I entrust you to Mary Theotokos, Mother of God; may she receive you all in the shrine at the heart of the citadel. And I ask you to pray for me.
I greet you and bless you.
Goodbye.[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]