Italy: Academy of Art and Literature awards the book by Fr Giuseppe Scelzi

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We bring to the confreres’ attention a cultural event in which our confrere Fr. Giuseppe Scelzi, CSsR, was the protagonist.

On Friday, 10 March 2024, at the premises of the Gangemi Publisher’s Bookshop in Via Giulia, 142, as part of the day organised by the Academy of Art and Literature, honorary awards were conferred on several authors (artists, researchers, scholars, and book authors) who have distinguished themselves for publishing scientific works during the year.

The event, led by President Dr Francesca Fragale and Prof. Mattia Fiore, with the collaboration of numerous members, began with a greeting to those present and a succession of speeches by those involved, each time called upon to receive the High Commendation of Merit award for Literature. Professor Angelina Barone wrote the reviews. Several journalists and numerous representatives of well-known Italian newspapers were present.

Among the guests of honour was Don Maurizio Patriciello, parish priest of Caivano, who gave a brief testimony to those present of his work of social rehabilitation in an area at risk, emphasising the role of culture and art in this difficult process of humanisation. The Councillor for Culture of the Municipality of Rome also spoke on behalf of the city’s institutions, emphasising their role in the protection of Italian and Roman heritage.

The event had its central moment in the awarding and proclamation of The Book of the Year, judged as such by the Commission for Literature and with the endorsement of the Council, for its originality and contribution to philosophical-theological research. The coveted prize was awarded to Redemptorist Fr Giuseppe Scelzi for his highly praised work, entitled Filling My Heart with the Riempi il mio cuore di io umano. Alla Ricerca dell’io in te, in Cristo, nel collettivo. Saggio interdisciplinary (Fill my heart with the human I. In Search of the I in you, in Christ, in the collective. Interdisciplinary study), published by Book Sprint Edizioni in 2023 (pp. 214). The text is accompanied by PowerPoint slides and an extensive bibliography, which includes scientific, philosophical, theological, and literary publications.

After listing the merits of Fr Scelzi’s work, the president invited him to address a thought to those present. Moved and with a smile on his lips, the author thanked the assembly and the members of the Academy for the recognition he had received, presenting a broad outline of the vast subject he had dealt with and emphasising its topicality for contemporary thought. He concluded by asking those present to receive a blessing, which he imparted with applause from the assembly.

Many scholars approached our confrere to congratulate him on the publication and to get to know first-hand “a character” known for his ability to approach and dialogue and his sharpness of thought.

Representing the Redemptorists was Fr Vincenzo La Mendola of the Historical Institute, delegated by the Provincial Superior, who sent his message, regretting that he could not attend. At the invitation of the President, Fr. La Mendola read the text that the Provincial Superior wished to address to the author and to those present, which was received by the assembly with thunderous applause: “On behalf of all the Redemptorists of the Southern European Province, I offer my warmest congratulations to our confrere Fr. Giuseppe Scelzi for his precious work of research and patient editing of his book, wishing the volume wide distribution, in the hope that it may contribute to the knowledge of the person and work of Jesus Christ in the contemporary world”.

We congratulate our Father Scelzi because, despite his venerable age (97), with courage and farsightedness, he has put himself on the line, studying once again a challenging and complex subject, and above all. After all, as a good Redemptorist, he has not reserved the fruit of his research for himself but has made it available to a vast public of readers, continuing in the wake of Saint Alphonsus, the apostolate of the pen, dear to the Redemptorist tradition.

Fr. Vincenzo M. La Mendola CSsR