The Pope’s family visit to Asti, between memory and future – Vatican News

Francis’ visit to the land of origin of his family will be marked by the experience of dialogue between generations, particularly dear to the Pope who so often evoked the “prophecy of Joel” on the young and the elderly. If Saturday November 19, the dimension of the memory will prevail in the private meeting with the members of his family, the following day, during the mass in the cathedral of Asti, the glance will be turned towards the future with the young people present for the JMJ diocesan.

Alessandro Gisotti – Vatican City

The journey that takes the Pope to Asti in Piedmont, his family’s homeland, is measured in years as well as in kilometres. The visit, motivated by the 90th birthday of a cousin, naturally takes on a private form to preserve the family dimension. However, although confidential, this event is not remote. This Piedmontese community, as well as the vicissitudes of the Bergoglio family -a family of migrants like so many others in Italy of the last century- belong to us in a certain way.

The Pope spoke about it several times, he told us “guests» to be the guests of his house, to meet above all his grandmother Rosa, a fundamental figure in his human formation, who transmitted to him the first Christian proclamation “in dialect”.

Faith is transmitted in the family

Because the faith, he reminded him on several occasions, is transmitted in the language spoken in the family, it is absorbed with the air that we breathe between the walls of the house, where the perfume of the Gospel has the taste of home. This Piedmontese dialect, learned in Buenos Aires, thousands of kilometers from the lands where it is spoken, the Pope still remembers and in certain situations it naturally resurfaces from the treasure chest of the past to come back to life.

During these almost ten years of pontificate, the Pope has often underlined the importance of the roots, the “back home”, even simply with the heart, where it is not possible otherwise. He did this by sharing anecdotes and personal memories, sometimes intertwining them with poems that particularly struck him. Like that of Hölderlin dedicated to his own grandmother on her birthday (“Bless the grandson once again, may the man keep what the child has promised”) or that of the Argentine poet Bernárdez (“What made the tree bloom comes from what it buried”).

Wisdom of time, momentum of the future

Memory, the Pope has always told us, is not, however, the veneration of the ashes, but the keeping of the fire. The wisdom of time cannot therefore be separated from the momentum towards tomorrow. In this regard, a singular coincidence in this visit to the region of Asti is striking: if Saturday will indeed have as its distinctive feature that of memory, the next day will, on the contrary, take that of the future. The Mass that the Pope will celebrate in the Cathedral of Asti on the Solemnity of Christ the King coincides in fact (precisely at the request of Francis) with the World Youth Days at the diocesan level. Many young people from all over the region will therefore take part in the celebration of this “long-awaited meeting”, as indicated by the motto of the visit.

Dreams and Prophecies

Young and old people. During his first WYD, the one he lived in Rio de Janeiro a few months after his election to the chair of Pierre, François underlined the importance of the meeting “between generations, especially within the family” and said he was convinced that “Children and the elderly build the future of peoples”. It is about the prophecy of Joel, so often evoked by the Sovereign Pontiff as “the prophecy of our time”: “Your old men will have dreams, your young people will have visions and they will prophesy”.

After all, and we also see it in this dramatic change of times, the progress of a society can be “measure” by the way she takes care of her young and old. This visit “private» then takes on a universal meaning, because it speaks to us of the dialogue between generations, between grandparents and grandchildren. Starting from the story of a grandmother who, strong in her faith in Jesus, was able to fight for her family and “make dreams come trueof the grandson who would one day become Pope.

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The Pope’s family visit to Asti, between memory and future – Vatican News

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