Italy: Redemptorist Missionaries at Verona’s Arena of Peace 2024

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“Hope no longer becomes an abstract sentiment, but a concrete action”.

On 17 and 18 May, the city of Verona was the protagonist of a great assembly moment: the “Arena of Peace – Justice and Peace Shall Embrace” event.

These assemblies originated in 1986 and were initially promoted by the movement ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’. Over time, they have involved numerous realities, both religious and popular movements, which have met at each edition to get to know each other, confront each other, and focus on different points of reflection on the theme of non-violence.

This year, ten years after the last edition, we Redemptorist Missionaries also felt a strong call to participate, to be present, starting from the pathways leading up to the event, which consisted of discussing the various realities divided into five areas: migration, work and finance, ecology, democracy and rights, and disarmament.

Starting in February, a group made up of Father Daniele, Deacon Fabrizio, Cristina from Rome, Nicolò from Milan, Ilaria, Giampaolo and Elisabetta from Francavilla, and Anna from Bussolengo took part in the meetings in preparation for the Peace Arena, bringing their contributions and enriching themselves with those of others, contributing to writing a final document that we want to spread as widely as possible, like a seed that will germinate and bear fruit.

On Friday, 17 May, the delegates who took part in these meetings finally met in person for a final re-reading of the documents, to discuss the other thematic tables, and to meet international guests whose words further inspired a collective action that is oriented towards peace seen not only as the ‘opposite of war’, but as the achievement of a common welfare, with respect for human life and creation, without injustice and inequality of any kind.

From this meeting, a number of questions arose, which on Saturday, 18 May, were addressed to the Holy Father during the event in the Arena through the voices of the men and women referents of the five areas. Questions that did not remain orphaned but found beautiful, concrete answers that still resonate in all those who could participate in the presence or remotely at that moment.

The event then ended with the celebration of the Pentecost Mass presided over by Pope Francis at the M. Bentegodi stadium, with the participation of more than thirty thousand people from the diocese of Verona, a celebration that even more invites us to be witnesses in the world of the joy of the Gospel, builders of peace.

As Redemptorist Missionaries, we return home with immense gratitude and with a desire to give resonance to this moment, needing to be even more faithful to what the Constitutions of the Congregation themselves indicate to us:

“Congregation members have the duty to proclaim the Gospel openly, to show solidarity with the poor, to promote their fundamental rights to justice and liberty, using all those means that are both Gospel-compliant and effective.” [const.5]

Redemptorist Delegates
Peace Arena 2024

On the event page, you can find the final document of Verona’s Arena of Peace 2024 (in Italian) and Pope Francis’s concluding address (Italian).