This is the fifth year that close to Christmas, I have the honor and the privilege to count on two families: the first one is the one where I am son, father, husband, brother, uncle, and I have the sweet joy to hug once again my relatives, and spend with them the joyful moment of spiritual recollection of Christmas. Its deep religious meaning is revered in prayer, of course, but also in the cheerfulness of the priceless loving atmosphere that surrounds all the relatives united.
The second family is made up of all of you , volunteers and friends of the Foundation that bears my name, fraternal fellow travelers of this philanthropic adventure that, together, we are shaping, day after day, to give our contribution and make the world a better place.
I have had the pleasure to greet in person many of you, even if only the time to shake hands. With others, the majority, we have not yet had the opportunity. But while wishing you a Merry Christmas, beyond rhetoric, I am addressing each of you, each a beating heart of ABF, with familiar words, with the sensation that we have always known each other. Because, the willingness to stay on the part of Good is the same, just like the awareness that acting, in solidarity, is the only real answer.
That’s enough for me to know of you, and you of me, in the mutual certainty that – as I said in autumn at the United Nations – ‘the idea of producing happiness and hope in those who have none, is one of the goals that give meaning and completeness to life; and music is inevitably linked to this élan, since it has the ability to affect consciousness, thus contributing to our spiritual development’.
2016 has been an extraordinary year. I remember how it seemed so also the previous one! But the fact that every calendar gives us a strong and clear sensation of uniqueness, of growth, brick by brick, I think is the best clue to understand that we are on the right path.
ABF has two hearts, as you know; one beats for research, the other one fights poverty, one works to develop a device to increase the independence of the blind, the other one to overcome the barriers generated by poverty and marginalization. Both of them express what is the deepest meaning of our mission, its raison d’être, its strength that can be summarized in the slogan ‘taking care of people’.
2016 has been a complex year. Nature has reminded us once again (through the earthquake in central Italy and through the hurricane Matthew that has devastated the island of Haiti) how fragile we are, and how the mind of men is not made to understand the logic of God.
But it has been also an exciting year, thanks to the essential support of all of you, with so many projects that have turned out well, and many new other ones that have taken shape… From the debut in New York of the children’s choir ‘Voices of Haiti’ to the project ‘Mobile Clinic’, from the construction of new schools on the Caribbean island to the immediate supportive operations of ABF, on the front line, to face the above mentioned natural disasters.
Thanks to the Newsletter, – also this is something new, that has been launched in the course of the year – we have been able to account for everything, proposing reflections and insights on each project. We are committed, starting today, to giving this precious instrument even more content. Just as in our families, when in the evening, we meet at the dinner table, and we talk of everything sharing joys and problems, trying to find solutions.
Life never ceases to amaze or to test us, daily, it is up to us to choose the right path, it is up to us to practice answering questions correctly and to make Good win on every occasion. ABF is an extraordinary training ground and you all are formidable athletes, you are the winning team, silently but concretely active, for a capillary action of empowerment of our mates with whom we share this world.
Again and again let me extend my most fraternal and affectionate thanks for having trusted and for continuing trusting ABF, being by my side in this élan and this mutual engagement: the exemplification of a fundamental concept that, thanks to you all, I hope will resound everywhere strong and especially contagious. That is: the world belongs to those who do things, to those who are passionate about life, to those who choose to stand on the part of Good, without fearing to get involved. Because – it is worth remembering that – St. Francis said: ‘For it is in giving that we receive; it is in forgetting that we find ourselves’.