Cows, goats, horses, donkeys, turkeys: animals from the whole of Italy are in Saint Peter’s Square today, for the tenth edition of the “Farm under the Sky,” set up in front of Bernini’s colonnade by the Association of Italian Breeders (Aia) and the Italian Farmers’ Union, on the occasion of the feast of Saint Anthony the Abbot, Patron of Breeders.
Planned for the day are a series of initiatives that go from Holy Mass officiated inside Saint Peter’s Basilica by Cardinal Angelo Comastri and, as is traditional, concluding with a blessing of men and animals in Pius XII Square. Completing the program in this 2017 edition is the parade of horses and horsemen along via della Conciliazione, with the presence of representations of the Mounted Corps of the Armed Forces and Police (anticipated also is the dog lovers unit) and of hundreds of groups of invited breeders.
Cardinal Comastri described the latter as “the most beautiful part of Italy,” during the Mass in the Basilica. Vatican Radio reported that in his homily, the Archpriest of Saint Peter’s stressed that agriculture, and breeding are the heart of so many territories of the Italian province, symbol at the same time of tradition and innovation, yet, they are a patrimony that is disappearing.
“You breeders – and also the farmers – still have a sense of family: protect it!” encouraged the Cardinal. Give time to your families, give time to your children, pray in your homes as you did once because prayer filled the home with joy and peace. You are custodians of these beautiful traditions; do not lose them. Progress does not lie in abandoning these beautiful traditions, but in recovering them … Look, I do not say it to coddle you: you are the most beautiful part, perhaps also the most honest of our Italy.”