In celebration of Laudato Si’ week (May 16th-24th), the culmination of the Special Laudato Si Year (May 2020 - May 2021) instituted by Pope Francis, the city of Aquileia will host 1 Health 4 All, an event to deepen reflection on the connection between global health, just development and integral ecology. Held in the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Aquileia, Italy on May 19th, 2021 from 16.00 to 19.00, the event was recorded and will be broadcasted on national TV and through Vatican media. The event was hosted by the Vatican Covid-19 Commission of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in collaboration with Paolo Petiziol with the Mitteleuropa Association. It was made possible through the generous support of the Diocese and the city of Aquileia, Ente Friuli nel Mondo (Friuli Organization in the World), Friuli Venezia-Giulia Region, Intesa Sanpaolo, Promoturismo FVG, Snam, and the participation, as guest speaker, of Fiat — all motivated by their commitment to Laudato Si’.
Published in 2015, Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ reminds us that everything is connected, and genuine care for our own lives and our relationship with nature is inseparable from fraternity and justice. Laudato Si’ inspires us to a deeper care for creation, lays out a framework for just development, and describes how we are all interconnected and interdependent. Calling “for a new dialogue” and a “new and universal solidarity” the encyclical sees health as essential to and interconnected with Pope Francis’s vision of integral peace.
The encyclical also helps us to understand that “health for all” relies on transforming our current (take-make-dispose) economic model to a circular (renew-remake-share) approach to economic development that is designed to benefit businesses, society, the environment and people. It demonstrates how enterprises and institutions can strongly choose to change direction, act for the common good, and respect the delicate balance between care for creation, for others and our common home.
Under the artistic direction of maestro Claudio Mansutti, the event featured an operatic concert performed by the tenor, Francesco Grollo accompanied by the Orchestra Filarmonica FVG and directed by Paolo Paroni. Grollo performed pieces, such as "Ave Maria" by C. Gounod; "Nessun dorma"; "Mattinata" by L. Leoncavallo, and "Panis Angelicus". The event also included interviews and remarks from world-renowned activists, artists and leaders in healthcare, finance, politics and the environment, including Bernice A. King, CEO of the King Center and youngest daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King; Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; the actress and humanitarian, Sharon Stone; and Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate, journalist, politician and human rights activist; among other well known public and Church leaders.
In addition to the musical concert, which reflects Italy’s rich artistic tradition, the event featured the gift of a digital artwork created by an AI to capture and unify the testimonies of participants and their contribution to the principles of Laudato Si’ in a single image.
A highlight of the evening was the celebration of the renovation of the Rumbek Hospital in South Sudan by the Italian NGO, Doctors with Africa CUAMM, and its re-dedication as a Laudato Si’ Hospital. The NGO works to strengthen health systems in sub-Saharan Africa, and their mission is to advocate for the universal right to health and promote the values of international solidarity, justice and peace. The Laudato Si Hospital upgrades will focus on improving care for mothers and children and exemplify the concrete, local actions that can be taken to address global challenges that Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’ discusses in its framework for sustainable and integral development (LS 13).
The Prefect for the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson noted that “in Laudato Si’, Pope Francis invited us all, to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (Laudato Si’ 3) … As members of the common human family, we are here to reflect on the precarious state of our common planetary home, and to articulate concrete responses to heal and rebuild it.”
The city of Aquileia has always been an important meeting place of cultures and is said to be founded by St. Mark, prior to his mission in Alexandria. “As the historic gateway to Central Europe, the city’s ecclesiastical tradition and history makes it emblematic of dialogue between people” Dr. Petiziol said. Its history is deeply intertwined with the African tradition of Alexandria and reflects the Doctors with Africa CUAMM’s emphasis on inclusion through concrete, locally-owned initiatives. The location is a reminder of the importance of human solidarity and how we are all interconnected and interdependent, and it symbolizes a tradition of dialogue and pathway to peace. The city of Aquileia will continue its historical role as a place for dialogue and support conversation between people and the environment at the intersection of integral health on the pathway to integral peace.