Rome (Italy). The new year 2021 opens with the 54th World Day of Peace, established by Pope Paul VI as an appeal to dialogue and an invitation to reflection and prayer for Peace in the world, “as a wish and as a promise – at the beginning of the calendar that measures and describes the journey of human life over time – that it may be Peace, with its just and beneficial balance, to dominate the unfolding of future history”.
Faced with a year marked by the Covid-19 health crisis, which caused great suffering and hardship for the entire world population, Pope Francis chooses the theme “The culture of care as a path to peace,” highlighting “the importance to take care of each other and of creation, to build a society founded on relationships of fraternity, and to eradicate the culture of indifference, of rejection, and of confrontation”.
From the example of God the Creator, model of care, from the salvific ministry of Jesus, from the active Christian charity of the first Christians, and the Fathers of the Church, who constitute a precious patrimony of principles, criteria, and indications, the ‘grammar’ of care is drawn: the promotion of the dignity of every human person, solidarity with the poor and defenseless, concern for the common good, the safeguarding of creation.
The Holy Father invites the leaders of international organizations and governments, the economic and scientific world, social communications and educational institutions, to take up the ‘compass’ constituted by these social principles, to follow “a common course, a truly human route,” to fill many inequalities.
There is no Peace without a culture of care: “The culture of care, as a common, supportive, and participatory commitment to protect and promote the dignity and good of all, as a willingness to take an interest, to pay attention, to compassion, to reconciliation and to healing, mutual respect, and mutual acceptance, constitutes a privileged way for the construction of Peace. In many parts of the world there is a need for paths of Peace that lead to the healing of wounds, there is a need for peace artisans willing to start healing processes and renewed encounters with ingenuity and audacity” (FT 225).
Pope Francis emphasizes, in particular, the need to educate young people in this capacity to ‘take care’: “The promotion of the culture of care requires an educational process and the compass of social principles constitutes, for this purpose, a reliable tool for various contexts related to each other…To all those who, in various ways, work in the field of education … I renew my encouragement so that we can reach the goal of a more open and inclusive education, capable of patient listening, constructive dialogue, and mutual understanding. I hope that this invitation, addressed in the context of the Global Educational Pact, will find wide and varied support.”
The Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, taking up the theme of the day, says: “Taking care, having all the care, is part of the mission of those who generate life and is an attitude very present in our charism from the very beginning. Mother Mazzarello uses this expression at least 5 times in her Letters when speaking of girls entrusted to the FMA or of young sick sisters (L 10; 12; 19; 28; 68). Whoever knows how to take care of life is certainly a person who cultivates hope in the future and sows it around herself“.