The Foundation is a non-profit organization where “the values of the Christian faith, the need for inter-religious dialogue, and the lay values that focus on the dignity of every person, collaborate to encourage and accompany the growth and development of the weakest people from all over the world.”
The group aims to recover the dignity of the people involved by letting them express their talents through cultural and artistic paths.
During the audience, the Pope individually thanked all those involved in projects and activities, including refugees mastering the art of tailoring; the musicians of the multi-ethnic orchestra; single mothers with their children, and those with disabilities who prepare the violins; and the hosts for the celebration of the Eucharist.
Also present were inmates and staff from the Italian prisons of St Victor, Opera, and Alba, all based in the Lombardy region.
Following are the Pope’s full comments, provided by the Vatican:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
Thank you for this visit. I thank my friend Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori for his presentation. Thank you, Arnoldo.
I greet the detainees from the prisons of San Vittore in Milan, Opera, and Alba, with the director and staff. I congratulate you on your work. They are artisanal activities, and also have a symbolic Christian value: preparing the hosts for the Eucharistic celebration; making musical instruments from wood recovered from boats that carried migrants; carpentry, like Saint Joseph and Jesus; the production of wine, which is the symbol of the feast – remember the wedding at Cana!
I greet the refugees who perform tailoring work.
I greet the young mothers with their children.
I greet the people with disabilities, who also collaborate in preparing the hosts and the violins.
I greet the musicians of the multi-ethnic orchestra, with the directors and Maestro Piovani, who composed the music for “Violino del mare”.
I greet the people from Spain, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as the volunteers and collaborators.
I thank you all because you are a seed of hope. With the support of the “House of the Spirit and the Arts”, you give signs that are contrary to the unfortunately widespread culture of rejection. Instead, you seek to build, with the “discarded stones”, a house where one breathes an air of social friendship and fraternity. Not everything is easy – we know – it is not entirely a “bed of roses”! Each one of us has his or her limits, mistakes, and sins. All of us. But God’s mercy is greater, and if we welcome each other as brothers and sisters, he forgives us and he helps us go forward.
Brothers and sisters, let us remember with gratitude all those who contribute to the work of the Foundation, and a grateful and prayerful thought goes in particular to Ms. Marisa Baldoni.
I thank you once again and I encourage you to continue on your way. May Our Lady and Saint Joseph accompany you. May you always have among you and in your workshops the spirit of the house of Nazareth! I bless you with affection. And you, please, do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.