“On behalf of my brothers I would also like to express a cordial thanks to Card. Bassetti for his commitment during the last years to the Italian Church, and warm wishes to Don Matteo for his new service, so that he may carry out this commitment with the humanity and charity with which we have known him over the years as a priest and pastor.” This message was written by Fr. Roberto Del Riccio, Provincial of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus (Italy, Malta, Albania and Romania) when Don Matteo’s appointment as the new president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference was announced.
Del Riccio added that ‘it is our ardent wish to place ourselves at the service of the Churches in Italy, contributing to the synodal journey aimed at building, as Zuppi himself pointed out, ‘a Church that dialogues with all and desires to reach the heart of all'”. “The province makes itself available in particular to support programs of discernment, to guide the dynamics of listening where we learn from each other, to offer tools for reading and for a real orientation in the light of faith, of a transparent and credible Church, capable of listening to and accompanying first and foremost young people, many lay people, and those who are marginalized in the Church or in society”.
Centro Astalli, the Jesuit Service for Refugees in Italy, also extended its best wishes to Cardinal Matteo Zuppi for his new assignment. “Once again the Holy Father is giving a clear indication of a Church that is ever closer to those who are the least in Society, to those who live on the peripheries, an ever more ‘field hospital'”.
Fr. Camillo Ripamonti, president of Centro Astalli states: “Our most sincere thanks to His Eminence Cardinal Bassetti, who has never failed to provide support and was always close to the asylum seekers and refugees we accompany. In these years he has been a tireless pastor of a Church ready to listen to the cry for help of those fleeing from the evils of the world, pointing the way towards the construction of Christian communities that are open, supportive, inclusive and for this reason builders of peace. The Centro Astalli’s best wishes to Matteo Zuppi are based on a consolidated friendship and a renewed willingness to work together for the good of migrants who arrive in Italy fleeing wars, persecution and serious human rights violations”.
The challenges are many and complex, but the road to ‘an ever-growing us’ is ‘less strenuous if travelled together’.