Rome (Italy). On 1 January 2022, the 55th World Day of Peace is celebrated, established by Pope Paul VI in 1968, as an invitation for all to prayer and reflection, to promote paths oriented towards this gift for all humanity.
“Education, work, dialogue between generations: tools for building lasting peace” is the theme of Pope Francis’ message, which opens with the words of Isaiah, “ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace” (Is 52:7) – words of “hope of a rebirth from the rubble of history” that belong to all times, because, “as in the times of the ancient prophets, even today the cry of the poor and of the earth does not cease to rise for implore justice and peace”.
Pope Francis says, “Peace is both a gift from above and the fruit of a shared commitment”, which requires the collaboration of all, which is why it proposes three ways to build lasting peace:
- dialogue between generations, as a basis for the realization of shared projects,
- education, as a factor of freedom, responsibility, and development,
- work, for the full realization of human dignity.
The Pope defines them as “three essential elements for ‘giving life to a social covenant,’ without which every peace project turns out to be inconsistent”.
True dialogue presupposes trust in the interlocutor and requires both parties to be able to “listen to each other, discuss, agree and walk together.” It is not possible to walk together living as if there were no past or future, merely pursuing immediate interests. For this reason, the alliance between generations, between “the keepers of memory,” the elderly and “those who carry history forward,” the young, is a necessary condition for overcoming great social challenges and building together a future of peace.
The privileged places and contexts of intergenerational dialogue are education, which provides the grammar of dialogue between generations, and work, “where men and women of different generations find themselves collaborating, exchanging knowledge, experiences, and skills in view of the common good”.
Deepening the concepts of instruction and education as “engines of peace“, Pope Francis speaks of integral human development, a culture of care, a global educational pact, and integral ecology, which make the person free and responsible, promoting “a cohesive society, civil, capable of generating hope, wealth, and progress”.
Investing in education means giving young people the opportunity to express themselves fully through work, putting their gifts, knowledge, and skills learned in the formation journey into service, “work is the place where we learn to make our contribution for a more livable and beautiful world”.
In a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the situation of the world of work, preventing many from accessing it, it is increasingly evident that work is not only a necessity for sustenance, but also and above all a motive for human and social realization.
On 21 December 2021, during the Press Conference to present the Message for the 55th World Day of Peace, Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said, “Work is much more than a means to earn a living. Work is an expression of our identity and dignity, of our social and relational vocation, of our safeguarding and cultivating the land, with God and with others”.
On that occasion, the Dicastery, through the Covid-19 Commission and in collaboration with other Dicasteries, communicated the launch of the “Work for all” project: “a great operation of listening by all those who in various places are looking for creative solutions to work problems. … So that peace can be built through decent working conditions for all,” explained Sr. Alessandra Smerilli.
The Holy Father concludes the Message for the World Day of Peace 2022 with the appeal to the governments and to all those with political and social responsibilities, to the pastors and animators of the ecclesial communities, and to all men and women of good will to walk together ‘With courage and creativity’ on these three paths: dialogue between generations, education, and work. “And may there be more and more of those who, without making noise, with humility and tenacity, day by day become artisans of peace”.
Obrigada ao Papa Francisco por esta mensagem chamativa e importante neste Dia Mundial da PAZ! Sim, vamos responder com prontidão a este CONVITE de edificação de uma Paz duradora. Este ano, 2022 aqui no Brasil o tema da Campanha da Fraternidade a ser desenvolvido e vivenciado na quaresma, também nos envolve para dinamizar a Educação! Obrigada mais uma vez Papa Francisco! Que todos possamos crescer na capacidade de Dialogar, no relacionamento intergeracional e oportunizar Trabalho Digno para todos e todas! Abençoado 2021! ( Ir. Maria de Nazaré Lima,fma/ BMM / família Salesiana )