Rome (Italy). On 6 September 2022 in Rome, at the Press Office of the Holy See, the Presentation Conference of the event “Economy of Francis – Pope Francis and young people from all over the world for the economy of tomorrow”, the international meeting for the young economists and entrepreneurs of the world who have responded to the call to activate processes for a more just and fraternal economy scheduled in Assisi from 22 to 24 September 2022.
Postponed for more than two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in fact it should have taken place from 26 to 28 March 2020, the event responds to the invitation of Pope Francis who in his Letter of 1 May 2019 expresses the desire to meet young people in Assisi to make “a common pact with them, a process of global change, to cultivate together the dream of a new humanism that responds to humanity’s expectations and God’s plan to give a soul to the ‘economy of tomorrow’”.
“They were not years of pause”, explains Msgr. Domenico Sorrentino, Archbishop-Bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, and of Foligno, and President of the organizing committee of “Economy of Francis”. The “Economy of Francis has spread in the world, on all continents. We also had Summer school and an Academy. Every year we held the conference remotely, receiving a video message from the Pope. And now the time has come for the harvest”.
About 1000 participants from six continents are expected in Assisi: 3% from North America and Oceania, 8% from Asia, 10% from Africa, 31% from Latin America, and the rest from European Countries. Not just participants, but Protagonists, as Giulia Gioeli, an Italian PhD student in Civil Economics, points out:
“I would like to emphasize that, despite the fact that we use the term ‘participants’ to indicate that we are participating in a meeting, in reality we are all protagonists of the event, each with a unique role to play, a story to tell, a challenge to share with others, a concrete action to propose, and a dream to achieve.”
These are young people engaged at various levels in the world of Economics. In fact, 30% come from the business world. They are entrepreneurs, managers, and young people involved in start-up activities, with defined projects and/or in the development phase. Another 30% of the participants are engaged in research, Masters and PhD students, scholars of Economics, and other related disciplines. The remaining 40% are changemakers, i.e., promoters of activities at the service of the common good and of a just, sustainable, and inclusive economy in their respective communities. They are the ones who take creative actions to solve economic problems.
Work in the Villages
One of the coordinates on which The Economy of Francis has developed in these 3 years are the Villages: 12 large thematic areas that represent the working sessions of the community members on the major issues of the economy of today and tomorrow, following the invitation of Pope Francis to “re-animate” the economy. Agriculture and justice, Life and lifestyles, Vocation and Profit, Work and care, Management and gift, Finance and humanity, Policies for happiness, Business, and Peace, Economy and women, Energy and poverty, Companies in transition, CO2 of inequality, are the themes that young people have already dealt with in working groups and regional networks.
As illustrated by Tainã Santana, a Brazilian economics student, during the event, especially on September 23, the young people who worked in the Villages will have the opportunity to meet in presence, many for the first time. “There, in addition to the exchange of personal experiences, they will continue to work on ideas and proposals that will be summarized in a document to express the commitment that the village proposes in response to the EoF call”.
A process in progress
Thus, the Economy of Francis is not just an event, “it is a process already underway,” as Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, Secretary of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, Member of the Scientific Committee of the “Economy of Francis” underlines in her speech. “It is a set of initiatives, a worldwide network of young people, which will see a public moment in Assisi, and from there it will begin again to continue in everyday life. The economy of Francis is to bring together the prophecy of Laudato Si’ and of Fratelli tutti, and the courage to touch and embrace poverty, typical of St. Francis of Assisi.
And when so many young people go to work to give life to dreams and experience the prophecy of an economy that leaves no one behind, and that knows how-to live-in harmony with people and with the earth, the whole Church must rejoice and must feel obliged to inform themselves, follow and accompany this process, avoiding the temptation of wanting to box up young people and their projects in pre-existing structures”.
Encounter with Pope Francis
On 24 September 2022, the Holy Father will be welcomed in Assisi by three young people from EoF, by Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, by Msgr. Dominic Sorrentino, by civil authorities, and by members of the organizing committee.
At 10:00, he will arrive at the stage, where, after an artistic-cultural presentation, there will be the welcome, the introduction, and the testimonies of eight young people from all over the world. Pope Francis will then deliver his discourse and sign the Pact with the EoF youth to initiate the economic change he himself hoped for.
For the detailed program and to follow the Economy of Francis: https://francescoeconomy.org/it/
“The future enters the world through you. I ask you as well to be protagonists of this change” (Pope Francis)