Dear friends, good morning and welcome, and thank you so much for the good
wishes you have given me, thank you!
Thank you for having chosen to dedicate this edition of the Christmas Concert to
the theme of peace. Peace is the synthesis of all the good things we can desire and
it is worth spending the best of our material, intellectual and spiritual energies for
Peace, we know, is built day by day, it is a desire that accompanies and motivates
our daily life. But unfortunately, in this historical moment, peace is also an
emergency, as the slogan that promotes the solidarity project combined with the
concert says. In Ukraine, the Salesians of “Missioni Don Bosco” are close to the
populations, they work for the reception of refugees and for the distribution of food
and medicines. With this initiative we want to support them; but all of us, in
whatever role, are called to be peacemakers, to pray and work for peace.
The participation of so many artists in this project testifies to their willingness to
participate in solidarity with brothers and sisters who suffer from war, and whom
Christmas invites us to feel closer to. In fact, the message that the Word of God
addresses to us every year during Advent is not a message of resignation or
sadness, but a message of hope and joy, a message to be internalized and
communicated. And in this “communication” music and singing also come into play.
The liturgy and popular traditions of Christmas are full of music and songs. The
same Gospel account speaks to us of the hymn of the angels: “Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace to men whom he loves” (Lk 2:14).
With your song, you contribute to spreading this message of love and life, touching
so many hearts and widening the perimeter of fraternity. This is how God works in
human history, even in painful and desolate scenarios: with mercy he calls all of us,
he uses our talents as well as our limitations, and he wants to save today’s
humanity. Like at Christmas, every day!
Dear friends, your talent is a gift and it is also a responsibility, of which to be
grateful and aware, while – as Saint John Paul II wrote to artists – «with passionate
dedication seek new epiphanies of beauty to give it to the world» (Letter to artists,
April 4, 1999). Music soothes, disposes to dialogue, favors encounter and
friendship. In this sense it is an open road to peace.
Thank you for coming. Best wishes to you and your loved ones. I give you my
heartfelt blessing and ask God to bless you. And please don’t forget to pray for me.