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News in Brief, 15.05.2019

28th Festival of Peoples: “In the common home, a single family”

The Catholic immigrant communities of Rome will be the protagonists of the 28th Festival of Peoples, organized by the Migrantes Office and Caritas Rome, along with different organizations working in the field of immigration in the Pope’s diocese. This year the theme is “In the common home, a single human family”, and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome, while the liturgy will be animated by 26 ethnic communities: the Gloria will be sung by the Congolese, the Psalm will be sung in Tagalog, the offertory will be entrusted to the Sri Lankan community, the Sanctus will be in Ukrainian, the songs of communion in Romanian and the final hymn in Polish.

After the Mass, from 13.30, lunch will be held in the square of Saint John Lateran, with typical dishes of thirteen countries: Eritrea, Togo, Romania, Ghana, Nigeria, Ukraine, Poland, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cape Verde, Congo, Cameroon and Syria. This will be followed by a multi-ethnic performance by twenty groups, ending with a big concert at 18.00 in collaboration with the group African Perfect Harmony, a musical group consisting of eleven members, which was established in 2017 in the Tagliate reception centre, Lucca, and with the Med Free Orkestra, a project born in the Roman quarter of Testaccio in 2010 which brings together music from various parts of the world, who will perform along with the Earth Band led by the Neapolitan percussionist Tony Esposito. Marco Iachini, winner of the Sound Spirit Festival 2019, will also be onstage.

“The Festival is intended to bear important witness to civil coexistence among different peoples”, explains Msgr. Pierpaolo Felicolo, director of the Migrantes Office of the diocese of Rome. “Throughout the years, the city has learned the beauty of staying together, and we must make further efforts to set aside the clichés regarding migration and to show the normality of the encounter between different cultures. Feeding the fear of migrants is the worst way of facing the human dimension of the phenomenon of migration. Fear makes us close up. If fear then develops from individual to collective, then we run the serious risk of phenomena of social reaction, not always controllable. All this must be avoided. How? Through awareness of the other. Knowledge is light, fear is darkness. We must pursue the light. Through awareness, we must develop and adopt the theme of hospitality”.