(Assisi, Italy) International Award “Francis of Assisi and Carlo Acutis for an Economy of Fraternity,” instituted by the Diocese of Assisi, is an initiative created in response to Pope Francis’s call for an “Economy of fraternity”. This past May, on the Feast of the Sanctuary of Renunciation, where Saint Francis of Assisi renounced worldly riches and Blessed Carlo Acutis is buried, the Award of Euro 50,000 was conferred to the Diocese of Pasig (Metropolitan Manila) in the Philippines, a local Church with 1.6 million Catholics and just 48 diocesan priests.
A group of 15 persons with disabilities, unemployed and very poor, who would normally be excluded, abandoned on the streets and without work, with the help of the local parish, accepted the invitation of the city: using waste, scraps, and, above all, the uncontrollable growth of water lilies, to produce — through a revolutionary technology — charcoal briquettes. Now, what once was considered so useless and damaging to the environment, is transformed into an agent of employment and an energy source with fewer health risks, less pollution, and without the need to cut down thousands of trees to produce coal.
A second project from Nigeria — the result of the Agriculture & Justice Village of the “Economy of Francesco” (Agriculture & Justice Village) — received substantial monetary recognition. In order to combat the desertification of the soil, this project seeks methods that allow the land to be cultivated in a sustainable way without making it sterile. Since most fanners are unfamiliar with such methodologies, this demo Farm of Francesco, managed by young people, will create environments in which local producers can learn and implement these practices.
Organisers from the Diocese of Assisi are certain that their initiative, so much in line with the teachings of the Encyclicals Laudato si and Fratelli tutti of Pope Francis, deserves to make known among other dioceses and religious institutes to encourage their participation.
On the site www.francescoassisicarloacutisaward.com, you will find a brief video of both projects and all details for the new edition being launched for 2022/23. Thanks to the generosity of benefactors, the prize will again be a maximum of Euro 50,000, which is intended to reflect charity that is “generative” and not merely “welfare assistance.” Once again, this will be conferred next May 2023 in Assisi to a specific project initiated at the grassroots level by persons, entities or societies who come together and design a project to care for the most disadvantaged in their communities, especially in the poorest regions of the world.