Rome (Italy). The online event The economy of Francis took place from 19 to 21 November, with more than 2,000 young entrepreneurs and economics students from 115 countries around the world as protagonists who welcomed the appeal of Pope Francis:
“An event that allows me to meet those who are forming themselves today and are starting to study and practice a different economy, one that makes people live and does not kill, includes and does not exclude, humanizes and does not dehumanize, takes care of creation and does not plunder it. An event that leads us to make a ‘pact’ to change the current economy and give a soul to the economy of tomorrow.”
The three days live-streaming from Assisi on the portal francescoeconomy.org, was a rich and lively series of meetings with important international speakers, interactive ‘sessions’ with young adults and very young people of high school age who presented works, studies, and projects, live links from Franciscan historical sites, moments of reflection, and musical and theatrical entertainment.
The variety of themes spoke about the economy and happiness with the American economist Jeffrey Sachs, author of the “World Report on Happiness”; about a finance that looks for the common good with the Nobel Peace Prize Winner (2006) Mohammed Yunus; about economy and peace, civil economy and generativity, work and care, the female contribution to the economy, starting with St. Claire of Assisi.
Young people had the opportunity to propose and express their ideas and to interact with the speakers, drawing on and contributing to a reservoir of wealth in the economic field which, also thanks to the practicality of digital languages, has been built up over the course of these days and remains available on the portal.
Don Bosco’s phrase resounds in its relevance: “The intelligence of my children is in their hands.” The Saint, who knew how to bet on youth leadership, taught his children, collaborators, and institutions to place study and professional training at the service of the integral growth of the person and society and to make it a plan of salvation.
Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, Political Economics Professor at the Pontifical Faculty ‘Auxilium’, and member of the Scientific Commission of “The Economy of Francis” emphasized during an interview with Vatican News that “The added value of this event is the creation of an unprecedented alliance between young people and adults”.
Sister Alessandra, present in Assisi during the three days, highlighted the process behind the event with the work of the young people during these months, which will continue even after the event is over: “The goal of this three-day live-streaming is to make known to those who did not participate in the process, what has been done so far and to aggregate many other people who want to share the dream of changing the economy”.
In the Video-message at the conclusion of the event, Pope Francis thanked the young people for their commitment in spite of the change of program due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “You did not get discouraged. Rather, I recognized your level of reflection, the quality, seriousness, and responsibility with which you have worked. You did not omit anything of what gives you joy, of what worries you, angers you, and urges you to change”.
He recognized their sensitivity and concern for the crucial issues of the world and gave them confidence, urging them to carry on the beliefs they have matured according to a new social paradigm. “You are much more than a superficial and passing ‘noise’ that can fall asleep and narcotize over time. If we do not want this to happen, you are called to make a concrete impact in your cities and universities, at work and in the trade union, in companies and movements, in public and private offices with intelligence, commitment, and conviction, to reach the core and the heart where themes and paradigms are elaborated and decided. All this prompted me to invite you to realize this pact”.
Finally, he invited them to recognize that “no one is saved alone and that we need each other to give life to this economic culture, able to “make dreams sprout, arouse prophecies and visions, make hope flourish, stimulate trust, bind wounds, weave relationships, resurrect a dawn of hope, learn from each other, and create positive imagery that enlightens minds, warms hearts, restores strength to hands, and inspires young people – all young people, no one excluded – with the vision of a future filled with the joy of the Gospel”.
The event ended with the final Declaration, the joint commitment of the young people, and the conclusions of the presenters:
“These months will have been really fruitful if we are able to continue what we started, if we involve many other young people, if we are ambassadors and witnesses of a different economy and, above all, of different relationships. Let’s do the Economy of Francis!”.