ASSISI – Yesterday, on the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Bishop of Assisi, Msgr. Domenico Sorrentino, announced the emerging project “Assisi: Terra Laudato Si” which was blessed by Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The moment of prayer, which coincided with the official closing of Laudato Si’ Week, was celebrated in the Canticle Garden of the Sanctuary of San Damiano, the place where Francis of Assisi composed the Canticle of the Creatures in 1225.

The “Assisi: Terra Laudato Si” project, which will formally begin programming in 2024, is the result of a collaboration between the Diocese of Assisi, the Franciscan families (OFM, Conventuals, Capuchins, TOR, Roman VI), the future Laudato Si’ Citadel (currently the “Citadel” of the Pro Civitate Christiana), FAI, and the Municipality of Assisi. The project is facilitated by the Laudato Si’ Center, the new home of the Laudato Si’ Movement in Assisi. It will enable all those working in the field of integral ecology and pilgrims visiting Assisi to experience the Franciscan sites with activities involving training and education, gathering and spirituality in creation.

In addition to Bishop Sorrentino and Cardinal Czerny, the prayer was attended by Stefania Proietti (mayor of Assisi), Father Marco Moroni (OFM Conv. custodian Sacro Convento), Friar Mauro Botti (OFM, guardian San Damiano Shrine), Father Marco Gaballo (OFM Cap. rector of the Shrine of the Dispossession), Father Marcello Fadda (Third Order Regular), Fr. Tonio dell’Olio (president of the Laudato Si’ Citadel), religious men and women of the city, Animators and Italian Laudato Si’ Circles. Animators from Italy and various parts of the world followed the event via streaming on Laudato Si’ Movement channels.

In the announcement, Bishop Sorrentino prayed: “Through the intercession of St. Francis to we ask our loving Creator to bless the project “Terra Laudato Si” that was born from the fruitful synodal journey of these years.” Next, he explained: “This wonderful Garden of the Canticle at San Damiano, the very birthplace of Laudato Si’, will be a key cornerstone of the project and will open to the public in 2025 – for the first time in history – in occasion of the ‘Laudato Si’ Double Anniversary’: 10 years of the encyclical and 800 years of the Canticle.”

The blessing of a small holm oak tree that will serve as the “cornerstone” of the project was accompanied by the four elements of the Canticle-air, water, fire, and earth-brought by representatives of the project Partners (diocese, Franciscan families, Citadel, and Laudato Si’ Movement).

A special gift from the friars of the Sacro Convento enriched the event: the flame burning at the tomb of St. Francis lit the lamp of “Terra Laudato Si,” to spread the fire of Pentecost in the world through the Animators and pastoral workers engaged in the field of integral ecology, as a sign of the evangelical poverty of the saint from Assisi.

Although the project’s programming will formally begin in April 2024, several “Laudato Si’ Sites” are already open for visitors, such as the sanctuaries of San Damiano and Eremo delle Carceri. In addition, there will be weekly screenings of “The Letter,” the YouTube Originals docu-film featuring Pope Francis telling the story of the encyclical letter Laudato Si’.

For more information, visit the “Assisi website: Terra Laudato Si”:

Event pictures are available here (pictures by Angelica Dieli, Laudato Si’ Movement).