During the time of the pandemic, trying to give meaning to the word “internationality”, which “Fratelli tutti” has deciphered in dozens of meanings. It’s the challenge that the Massimo Institute has taken up. Fr. Claudio Zonta, who teaches at the Roman high school, was interviewed by Vatican Radio and tells us how this is proceeding.
“With the school partially physically present and partially online, during a time when we have ‘gorged’ ourselves with connections, as the Pope says, the challenge to have an internationality lies in placing the emphasis on the term “inter”, that is “between”, to create a universal dimension of being open to all, within a community that can also support the students”. Zonta gives some examples: the collection of food for the Vatican almsgiving program; the commitment of families to collect blankets and food during the emergency caused by the cold season; the closeness of the community “of us Jesuits to the families, trying to support and be supported, because it is a mutual exchange”. “Finestre” and “Incontri” (“Windows” and “Meetings”), the online appointments, organised in collaboration with the Astalli centre, with refugees or people of other religions. And then to create a more sustainable school, by avoiding paper waste and through the separation of waste, “because Fratelli tutti is linked to Laudato si'”.
“This is a time,” says the Jesuit, “when being connected online for too long, inundated with information, risks creating on the other side of the coin the problem of loneliness and inaccessibility to essential information. There is a risk of losing the dimension of charity, of social love, which is fundamental. These values are the essence of the human being when he is interacting with others. Today it is difficult to interact, we sometimes live in parallel worlds”. This is why Zonta reverts to the importance of an expression found in many social encyclicals: “Integral development of the person, human and spiritual, that is, open to the transcendent”. How can this be communicated to the students? “Being together, I realised especially now with the re-opening of schools, is good. The students are reluctant, they certainly struggle, but they understand that being with them, being present, giving a new meaning to misused words such as justice, impartiality, equal opportunities, politics is worthwhile. It will take time. The social structure will also have to be rebuilt. Covid has broken many relationships”.
The interview with Vatican Radio (in Italian)