On 30 April 2023, the first "Universal Embrace: We are all brothers and sisters", an initiative conceived and promoted by the Argentinean poet and philanthropist Alejandro Roemmers in support of the Order, was launched at the Porziuncola - Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Italy.
Welcoming the participants, on behalf of the Minister General and the entire Order, was Br Francis Piloni, Minister Provincial of the Province of St Francis of Assisi in Italy, who stressed how indispensable the need for peace and reconciliation is for our times, reading and delivering a special Diploma to Alejandro Roemmers, who will accompany this universal and symbolic embrace: "to the Orchestra and every person reached by its musical notes come the greeting of St. Francis: May the Lord grant you his peace".
Alejandro Roemmers expressed his gratitude, moved by the privilege of being present in a place so dear to St Francis, and how the "We are all brothers" Embrace seeks to be a fundamental starting point towards a new paradigm of humanity, where every act of human beings is guided by the love that inspired St Francis. In support of the Franciscans, this initiative aims to inspire young people worldwide to be more sensitive in seeing others as themselves and as brothers and sisters.
To the sound of music conducted by Maestro Nazareno Andorno, some participants from various nations, ethnicities, and languages circled around, stepping on a globe and in a long embrace, experiencing its great strength with their faces moved and wet with tears.
From the Portiuncula, the Embrace of Assisi Orchestra will bring the greetings of St Francis to the whole world. A performance in the Vatican is planned for 10 June and in other parts of the world.
Prior to the Embrace of Assisi, on 28 April, Mr Roemmers was awarded the special "St Francis" prize by the Pontifical Antonianum University of Rome (PUA) for his commitment to his neighbour and world peace. "We awarded Mr Roemmers with the St Francis Prize for the good practices he carries out in support of so many social realities in different parts of the world, which do good and bring him very close to our Franciscan charism". Brother Augustín Hernández Vidales, Rector of the PUA, explained.