Many have hope to restructure the economy in a way that it will be at the service of all humanity, particularly of those most vulnerable. An upcoming convocation of experts in the field, along with young students of economics who have a common passion, gives hope for the future.

Pope Francis has extended an invitation, along with the mayor of Assisi, to participate in an encounter of study and research from a worldwide perspective on March 26-28, 2020. It is intended to “unleash a process” that leads to a new model for the economy, an integral economy, an economy of communion based on fraternity and equality.

In Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father reminds us: “The recipient of the economy is man. It’s an economy at the service of the human person, an inclusive economy that promotes the dignity of persons.” Assisi was chosen as the site since it has symbolized for centuries a humanism of fraternity, said the pope. “It is a fitting place to inspire a new economy.

There [St.] Francis stripped himself of all worldliness in order to choose God as the compass of his life, becoming poor with the poor, a brother to all… A vision that can give hope to our future and benefit not only the poorest of the poor, but our entire human family. A vision that is also necessary for the fate of the entire planet, our common home…”

A model for a new economy? On the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Francis of Assisi as patron saint of ecology, Pope Francis convenes an economic think tank. (Painting by Giotto in Louvre, Paris)
A model for a new economy? On the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Francis of Assisi as patron saint of ecology, Pope Francis convenes an economic think tank. (Painting by Giotto in Louvre, Paris)

Among the organizers of the event in Assisi are Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Luigino Bruni, professor of economics at Libera Università Maria Ss. Assunta (LUMSA) in Rome, Italy and consultant for the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life; the mayor of Assisi, Stefania Proietti; and Fr. Mauro Gambetti, Custodian of the Sacred Convent of Assisi.

During the press conference introducing the event, Professor Bruni shared that the Holy Father would like it to be addressed to young people in particular, to encourage them to study, to work, to be engaged with society, along with leaders in the field. He referred to the pope’s admonition to “enter into a ‘covenant’ among you all to change this world … to give a soul to the economy of tomorrow.”

The pope recalled the words spoken to St. Francis, “Go, Francis, repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin,” and offered his thought: “The repair of that house concerns all of us. It concerns the Church, society and the heart of each individual… Each one of us is called to rethink his or her mental and moral priorities, to bring them into greater conformity with God’s commandments and the demands of the common good.”

Looking forward to this meeting with heartfelt anticipation, Pope Francis noted his desire to promote together a process of global change. It will be one in which not only believers, but all men and women of goodwill, beyond their differences of creed and nationality, will participate in an ideal of fraternity that is above all attentive to the poor and marginalized.

He invites individuals and groups to cultivate together the dream of a new humanism that is responsive to the expectations of men and women and to the plan of God. The event will also coincide with the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Francis of Assisi as the patron saint of ecology by St. John Paul II in 1979.

Emilie Christy

(Living City, USA)

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