Rome (Italy). On 10 June 2023, the first “Not alone” World Meeting on Human Fraternity will be held in Rome in St. Peter’s Square, promoted by the Fratelli tutti Foundation in collaboration with St. Peter’s Basilica, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See.
The aim of the initiative is above all to rediscover the true meaning of fraternity, ‘a concept’, as Fr. Francesco Occhetta, Secretary of the Foundation said, “which goes beyond the meaning of brotherhood, that of blood or ethnic ties, which includes the similar and the different is excluded”. It is launching processes of fraternity by transforming this word into concrete acts, spreading a message of hope in the wake of the encyclical Fratelli tutti, promoting the construction of peace for a more united and fraternal human community. It seeks valuing the differences of each human person, a unique and unrepeatable masterpiece, in harmony with Creation.
At the Press Conference of presentation held on 5 June at the Holy See Press Office, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, President of the Fratelli tutti Foundation, said:
“We have the desire to make this word, fraternity, resound from St. Peter’s Square to the whole world. We would like it to become one of those words that influences culture and brings to the attention of hearts, of people, this fact of being constitutively brothers and sisters of others in solidarity because we are united by the one humanity. (…) We are convinced that this is what belongs to us: being so different, but for this very reason, a gift for each other. We are of equal dignity but we are different. It is the great gift and potential because around these differences, read in the light of fraternity, communion and community can be built.”
“The #NotAlone meeting wants to involve everyone: the young people who will participate but also their families, schools, the invited Nobel prize winners and, most of all, those who find themselves in difficulty today, on the margins of society. We want to propose an alternative to isolation and put human dignity back at the center of our cultures. We are people in relationship; every day we travel parts of the road together. No one can be left behind or excluded. Only by overcoming selfishness can we aspire to build a more just and equitable society in which to live in peace with one another. But for this to happen, we need the commitment to want it and to say it together and to make the culture of human fraternity grow”.
In the morning, five working groups made up of 30 Nobel Peace Prize winners, fragile people, environmental experts, associations, schools, hosted in the Vatican Palaces, will explore the social, anthropological, and spiritual challenges of fraternity.
The desire is to create a “Declaration of fraternity” to be presented to the Holy Father and to launch a collection of “1 billion signatures for universal fraternity” to involve the entire human community.
In the afternoon in St. Peter’s Square, starting at 16.00, testimonies of realities of ecclesial and lay commitment, families, associations, and those who find themselves living on the margins of society, will alternate with artistic performances by international artists of the caliber of Andrea Bocelli, Roberto Bolle, Amii Stewart to encourage people and communities to commit themselves to concrete change, starting from the contents of Fratelli tutti.
During the Meeting, conducted by the television presenter Carlo Conti and live on RAI 1 and on social channels, connections are envisaged with 6 other significant places in the world – Bangui, Brazzaville, Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, Lima, Nagasaki, in addition to the refugee camp UNHCR Italy in Ethiopia and the Mediterranean ship, Saving Humans, which will bring experiences of fraternity.
Pope Francis, who should have been present at the event and is hospitalized at the Gemelli Polyclinic for surgery, will be supported by the affection and prayers of the participants.
The symbolic gesture of the World Meeting of Human Fraternity will be carried out by young people from all over the world who, holding hands, will join in a great embrace inside the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square designed by the architect Bernini precisely to realize through architecture the embrace of the universal Church, to then open up so as to include all of humanity.
At the end, each participant will receive a bag of soil and some seeds to take home to symbolically cultivate fraternity in daily life, with the commitment to bring back the plant that will grow from these seeds in next year’s 2nd edition. Street artists and circus performers will continue to perform until 10.00 pm.
“In order to implement fraternity, it must be cultivated over time; this is the beginning of a journey”, underlined Cardinal Gambetti at the end of the press conference.