Culture & Religion
August Sun 22, 2010
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The first session of the Meeting for the Friendship Among Peoples took place in Rimini from August 23-31, 1980. The title was "Peace and the Rights of Man". During a gathering of priests in Bologna, on December 1, 1980, Fr. Giancarlo Ugolini recounted how a group of friends in Rimini brought forth the idea of organizing the Meeting. While listening to him speak, Fr. Giussani wrote in a notebook some words. At the end of the intervention, he put down in a few sentences the genesis and scope of the meeting. From a distance of over thirty years, the words of Fr. Giussani help us understand the scope of a proposal which challenges reason and liberty and from which --today--one organizes and participates at the Meeting.
I would like for us to bring forward the factors determining the human face of this phenomenon which has given an origin to the biggest event that we have done in thirty years: the Meeting of Rimini. Greater, not only quantitatively, but also from the point of view of the effect on public opinion.
a. On one hand, these people are impassioned with the life of the movement. What does it mean to be passionate about life? An adult cannot help but be passionate about life, otherwise either he is an old man, or he is a child. The adult is serious about life: he has a seriousness with life and a passion for meaning. The adult is a person for whom the movement is a vehicle, a place of encounter, with significance for his own existence, his own person.
b. On the second hand, friends among us have led us to these circumstances. Therefore, a passion for life makes friendship possible. And the friendship faces these needs together.
Now, what is the particular accent that makes us understand the maturity of these people? That, while living in a particular situation (Rimini in summer), they noticed the absolute, total lack of presence of Christians. For how many years has Rimini been this type of bath center? It is beautiful and tragic that from these people came a question at a certain point, suddenly or definitively: " The Christian presence does not exist here."
c. Third question: then, the ideal of life that they have within, linked organically to the friendship and therefore linked courageously to the friendship, is taken up, changes. There does not exist a true ideal perception which does not become the energy to change, that is affection, the energy to mobilize time and space, in reality, in function of the ideal. Therefore, they are moved to realize this presence.
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