Assisi (Italy). On 24 September 2022, in Assisi, the young people of Economy of Francesco (EoF), the international meeting for young economists and entrepreneurs of the world who responded to the call to activate processes for a more just and fraternal economy, lived the culmination of the days, the meeting with Pope Francis and the signing of the Pact for the economy.

Al suo arrivo nel Piazzale antistante il Pala-Eventi di Santa Maria degli Angeli, il Papa è stato accolto presso il Teatro Lyrick da tre giovani, in rappresentanza dei partecipanti all’evento, dal Prefetto del Dicastero per il Servizio dello Sviluppo Umano Integrale, Card. Michael Czerny, dall’Arcivescovo-Vescovo di Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino e di Foligno, Mons. Domenico Sorrentino, dalle autorità civili e dai Membri del Comitato Promotore dell’Evento, tra cui suor Alessandra Smerilli, Figlia di Maria Ausiliatrice.

Upon his arrival in the square in front of the Pala-Event of St. Mary of the Angels, the Pope was welcomed at the Lyrick Theater by three young people, representing the participants in the event; by the Prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development Service, Card. Michael Czerny; by the Archbishop-Bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino; and of Foligno, Msgr. Domenico Sorrentino; by the civil authorities; and by the Members of the Promoting Committee of the Event, including Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians.

Inside the theater, young people eagerly await, as well as those following his footsteps via live streaming. Arriving on stage, after some musical and theatrical performances and the testimonies of eight young people, Pope Francis delivers his Discours and immediately expresses the joy in being there. “I have been waiting for this moment for over three years, since 1 May 2019, when I wrote you the letter that called you and then brought you here to Assisi.” He expresses his trust in them, “You must resume economic activity from the roots, from human roots, as they have been done. You young people, with God’s help, you know how to do it, you can do it”.

Among the approximately 1,000 participants, there were also several young people from the realities of the FMA, including some students of the Second Level Secondary School with a specialization in Finance & Marketing Administration (AFM) of Mary Help of Christians Institute of Lecco, of the Lombard Province Holy Family (ILO).

“The participation of the students of Lecco in EoF, explains Prof. Laura Arrigoni who accompanies them in this experience, was born as a concretization of the Civil Economy path that the school has already been pursuing in the AFM Course of the acquisition of some values directed to an economy made more to human measure. It is a way to stimulate them in comparison with other realities and Countries and to help them understand the concreteness of the teachings received world level.”

In the space called Hogar, the young people had the opportunity to show the Everyone’s Congo project exhibit, a project created through the company they created, Everyone’s World, whose mission is to stimulate action for the common good – ” the world is all of us”- through educational games that can be used in the classroom to raise awareness and inform adolescents: change starts with knowledge! Through the game, Everyone’s Congo allows you to identify with a Congolese child so as to better understand the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and how their destiny is also linked to the choices of each one.

The account, impressions, and emotions of the young participants from Lecco to the EoF experience:

The three-day Economy of Francis of Assisi was a time of meetings and discussions. The red thread that accompanied us was that of a new economy that is becoming necessary today, given the negative effects that the capitalist model has had and that are there for all to see. There have been testimonies, works in thematic villages to find new solutions, but also informal spaces for discussion that have helped to build relationships with young people who have really arrived from all over the world, some victims of this economic model, with a great desire for change.  And this is precisely the great intuition of Pope Francis, if you want to change things, you need a new, creative vision, which only young people can have.

“This experience was useful from all points of view: it was a beautiful journey together. We were able to practice our English and meet people from all over the world and, not to be underestimated, we were able to learn a lot of notions on the civil economy. This experience really helped me a lot in my personal growth, because I happened to have to interface with people older than me, perhaps with a career already, in another language.” (Matteo)

“It was a truly unique experience. The best thing is to see so many cultures coming together for the common good, and the happiness in their eyes. We were able to talk to special people, where a friendship was born immediately. Not to mention the meeting with the Pope, truly engaging from a human point of view.” (Altea)

“After this wonderful experience full of emotions of all kinds: from excitement, to happiness, unique sensations that have accompanied me, I take home the beauty of dealing with people from all over the world. And I hope that in the future there will be more proposals of this kind for future generations!” (Francis)

“Thanks to the Economy of Francis, I realized how lucky I am, and that unfortunately many young people like me do not have the same opportunities as I do. From this experience I return home with more awareness of my good fortune, and also that if we are united, we can really do something to change our economy.” (Miriam)

“In these days in Assisi, all the young people present appeared to my eyes happy and smiling, with a life without difficulties. Listening to their stories and testimonies, I discovered the challenges they face every day and carry on in their young life. Young people with a desire to change their situation and that of their people are making the change. The union, in these days, has given strength, but for this desire to change and to develop a new economy to come true, it must extend to every individual! I felt welcomed into one big family that loves their home.” (Francesca)

“Taking part in EoF was really getting your fill of the ‘world’, understanding that we are not the only ones or the ‘strange’ ones trying to find new ways, but that young people from all over the world are doing it too. Youth who often do not have the same opportunities as we do or who even suffer the consequences of our choices. It was for me and for my students, the confirmation that we cannot remain indifferent, but we must act for the common good, where we are called to live.” (Prof. Laura Arrigoni)


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