On 26 January last, the associates and partners of Assifero were granted a private audience by Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. The private audience marks the start of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the Assifero association, founded in 2003 and comprising 140 family, corporate, community, secular and other philanthropic foundations, which responsibly participate in the defence of fundamental rights and the affirmation of sustainable, inclusive and equitable community development.
“You bring together numerous private foundations that, in Italy and abroad, work in a variety of fields, for the promotion of the individual and the development of healthy social and economic models of solidarity, bringing together different skills and resources. Indeed, one of the first things that strikes one about your action is precisely its richness and variety. You come from different origins, backgrounds and Christian denominations, you bring with you the heritage of spheres of activity, skills and operating methods of various kinds, you turn your attention and your help to realities and contexts of all kinds. Yours is an “all-embracing” charity, requiring open-mindedness and the ability to coordinate; to use a Pauline image, like members of a body (cf. 1 Cor 12:1-13). For this reason, I would like to recommend that you pay particular attention in your programmes to three important values that, moreover, you already have in mind: first, the promotion of the integral good of the person; second, listening to local communities; third, closeness to the least. On closeness, do not forget that it is one of God’s qualities: closeness, compassion and tenderness. God is like that: close, compassionate and tender. These are the three ‘attitudes’ to put it this way, of God. This closeness leads you to compassion and tenderness,’ said the Holy Father in his greeting to those present.
“The outline of Assifero’s work always leads back to what the Holy Father hoped for and invoked: to put human dignity at the centre of each of its actions; to responsibly retrace participatory processes that activate the human conscience, and at the same time the political conscience of those who can change the course of things; to give hope, towards a just and inclusive society,” says Stefania Mancini, President of Assifero. “Each foundation and philanthropic body is different in origin and mission, but within the association we all walk together, sharing the values of Justice and Peace, in a path based on listening to the territories and communities and able to intercept the needs, the potential, and initiate processes that look far ahead. It is a deep joy and a great privilege for us to be welcomed in the presence of the Holy Father and to begin with His words and blessing this new phase of our journey, which began 20 years ago. As an association, we look to the future with obstinacy and hope, and we are committed to ensuring that through our work, the philanthropic system can stimulate a policy that recognises the centrality of man as indispensable.”
For the Community Foundation of Agrigento and Trapani, President Pietro Basiricò and Director Giuseppe La Rocca attended the audience.