Laudato si’ Cultural Evening – A night in praise of God’s creation

On March 23rd, 2018 a cultural event was held to highlight the Encyclical Laudato Si.  The Basilica of St. Anthony at the Lateran was filled to overflowing with brothers and sisters from the Franciscan Family who gathered to praise their Creator. It was a night of wonderful music and featured the display of a beautiful Laudato Si’ icon that was brought in pilgrimage through 18 countries in Latin America last year.

The audience included ambassadors and representatives from embassies to the Holy See, the Rectors of the Antonianum and Urbaniana universities, Superiors General from around ten Franciscan Congregations of Sisters, and representatives from the Capuchins, Conventuals, Salesians, and Benedictines

They were treated to musical performances from three artists, including our brother Friar Alessandro Brustenghi, OFM, who is a member of the fraternity at the Portiuncula — his vocation has seen him develop his musical gift, becoming an internationally recognized tenor, and signing a contract with Decca Records with whom he has recorded three CDs: “Voice from Assisi“, “Voice of Joy” and “Voice of Peace.” The audience also heard from Maestro Eugenio Fagiani, who is considered to be one of the finest organists in Italy and is internationally well known. Finally, Bologna’s famous Children’s Choir “Mariele Ventre based at the Antonianum de Bologna, received a hugely warm response. This children’s choir was established more than 60 years ago and now ranks among the most famous in the world, having sung in numerous concerts with the most famous musicians nationally and internationally.

At the end of the evening, Br. Michel Perry, OFM Minister General, addressed the audience. Using the thoughts and words of the Canticle of the Creatures, he spoke about the grave dangers that threaten our common home and urged all those present to an even greater commitment to its protection and care. He stressed that we need to rediscover the truth that everything comes as gift from God – the profit motive is not enough for an authentically human life. In a world where everything, even play, has become commodified we need to believe that although poetry, song, and beauty are not ‘useful’ in the usual sense, we cannot live without them. Reflecting on the life of St. Francis, Br. Michael said that the God of Francis is a suffering God — a God who shares in the suffering of being human, and who has given all of Creation an inherent dignity. This is the God of tenderness to whom the poetic soul of St. Francis responded in the Canticle — Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.

Watch the video of the entire concert here: