The challenge is to be people who sow the seeds of peace through solidarity and cultivate a culture of peace, a clean air unpolluted by violence. We cannot retreat into anonymity looking indifferent or frightened at the course of history. Peace is our work and that of so many others; it is humanity's profound orientation; above all, it is God's gift in response to our prayer and to the lament of the suffering. Thank you for accompanying us with your friendship, your support and your prayers.
Dear friends, good evening!
Thank you for being here and participating in this anniversary. Your presence is a support, your friendship comforts us and encourages us to be better. Victory is in friendship, said a wise Christian from the East. I thank Cardinal James Harvey, Archpriest of this Basilica, and with him the Abbot of St Paul Outside the Walls, for welcoming us so warmly and sympathetically. I thank the cardinals, starting with Cardinal Del Re, the archbishops, the bishops, the delegations of the other Churches and Christian Communities present. My special thanks to dear Cardinal Matteo for his profound words and a grateful appreciation of his mission in the Italian Church and in the service of peace.
I thank the members of Government and Parliament present as well as the representatives of the Municipality and the Region. Rooted in this city and in the Church of Rome and united with its bishop Pope Francis, to whom we express our sentiments of affection and gratitude, we have been able to broaden our horizons and our commitment to the whole world. The presence of so many members of the diplomatic corps, representing so many countries where the Community lives and works, is a testimony to this. Thank you for your presence. This universal openness has brought us into contact with so many situations of suffering and poverty: today I am pleased to welcome some of our brothers and sisters from Ukraine, and I thank them for their resilience and the invaluable humanitarian work they have been doing in so many Ukrainian cities affected by the conflict for two years now.
We have felt the responsibility of peace over the years and have lived it as an artisans' work. The artisans of peace are men and women of fraternity, of voluntary work, of social responsibility, of connection with the other. They are educators. Living fraternity, open to the distant world as well as to the close neighbour, germinates visions of peace. Because today our neighbour is not only our nearest neighbour, but also the world that reaches us in every way. We can be artisans of peace, in solidarity: making peace through solidarity. "If you want peace, reach out to the poor," said John Paul II. Solidarity mends a lacerated human and social fabric, heals from loneliness, makes peace.
A grateful greeting goes to the lawyer Laura Mattarella, who accompanies us with her presence, and through her I have the pleasure of conveying the most deferential homage to the President of the Republic, who recently visited a centre of the Community and said: "Thank you very much, because these works make Italy a country that shows its true soul: human solidarity, the ability to understand, beyond all borders, that there is a responsibility that calls on everyone. It calls particularly on the institutions, of course. However, those who personally feel this responsibility find here the way to express it, to realise it, to give it concrete results. Thank you for what you do. I really appreciate it, I express my gratitude with great conviction'.