Photo: Iusve Cube radio/Marica Padoan
Rosolina (Italy). On 4 October 2020, at the conclusion of Time of Creation, at Rosolina, in the province of Rovigo (Italy), the event was held in which the ‘Laudato sì Garden’ project was presented to the public, for the development and care of the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Po Delta area.
The project is part of the process of celebrating the Special Laudato sì Year, announced by Pope Francis, and is promoted by the Dicastery for the Service of Human Integral development and seven municipalities in the area, the Veneto Region, and Veneto Agriculture. After the publication of the Encyclical Laudato sì (2015), the local administrations, urged by the parish priest of Rosolina, Fr. Lino Mazzocco, created a partnership for the development and care of the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Po Delta area, integrating them with human activities and giving life to an expressive language inspired by interconnection.
As explained by Fr. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Head of the Special Anniversary Year Laudato sì and Coordinator of the Ecology Taskforce of the Vatican Commission Covid-19, in an interview at Vatican News, the Garden is located in an area that has been degraded due to a bad development model that polluted the whole area. The project provides for the concrete involvement of the productive activities of the territory and beyond: “When we talk about the garden, we only think about planting trees, but here we will also pay attention to the social dimension, because this was a degraded area. There is a healing, a recovery of this land, through the companies of agriculture, fishing, and many others. ”
The inaugural event took place in the center of the Veneto Regional Park of the Po Delta, in the botanical garden of Porto Caleri, with the involvement and participation of all the players in the area: businesses, artisans, schools, parishes, civil society associations, exponents of the political-economic world.
The creator of the event, Sister Alessandra Smerilli – Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, Full Professor of Political Economy at the Pontifical Faculty of Science of Education «Auxilium» of Rome, State Councilor of Vatican City and Coordinator of the economy Taskforce of the Vatican Commission for Covid-19 – highlighted in her intervention the value of the project:
“The Laudato Sì Garden is born today. The people of this place give life to a project that unites them to create a model of development in harmony with creation and creatures and oriented towards peace. They do it for the earth, for future generations, because they are experiencing that there can truly be a virtuous relationship between the earth and human beings. With the action of care, management, modeling, this place has become a treasure trove of biodiversity and from this land one receives its beauty, but also the necessities of life. The sign of the Laudato Sì Chapel reminds us that the Lord placed man and woman in the garden of Eden to cultivate and guard it. Cultivate and guard the earth, guard each other reciprocally.
In the challenging time we are experiencing of the pandemic, inaugurating a Laudato Sì Garden is a sign of hope. Today we also celebrate it through art, which is an expression of gratuitousness. The song of the earth helps us to thank, to contemplate, and to take care. When we contemplate, we discover in others and in nature something much greater than their usefulness”.
The “Concert for Integral Ecology” was held by the tenor Francesco Grollo, accompanied by the Italian Rhythmic-Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro Diego Basso and the Art Voice Academy and Opera House choirs. The musical journey symbolized the harmonious link between life, nature, human relations, economy, values of encounter, and hospitality.
At the end, Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, inaugurated the “Laudato Sì Chapel”, created by Arch. Mario Cucinella. Five people, representing the 5 continents, made the gesture of watering the plants brought by the children and young people and the Cardinal recited a prayer to God the Creator, blessing those present and the land where the project is located: “Grant, O Lord, that we may lovingly keep the work of Your creation and always see in it the reflection of Your goodness. ”
He concluded with these words: “This evening, the love that is in the hearts of men and women is reflected in nature. It is pleasant not to have to deal only with the violence that strikes nature, with the destruction and abuses that nature suffers from our hands, but to be able to admire a situation of harmony in which love for nature is manifested. “
After the event of 4 October 2020, the project continues with initiatives dedicated to schools, parishes, businesses, universities, and families, to support the commitment to live the message of the Encyclical.