Giorgio La Pira, the prophet who taught to "hope against all hope".

Publish date 08-11-2020

by Redazione Sermig

The future is today

The prophet starts from the present,
scrutinizes it, criticizes it,
but as a moment
of a larger project
that stretches its banks
about the distant past
and on the more distant future,
not to leave it on the sidelines,
to limit himself to denouncing its precariousness,
but to set it in motion,
to awaken its potential
and develop its implicit fruits,
to launch it towards the final goals
of history and beyond history.

Giorgio La Pira


In recent days, many have remembered a great prophet of our times, Giorgio La Pira, mayor of Florence in the 1950s-1970s. A politician in love with God, born in Pozzallo, in the province of Ragusa, on January 4, 1904, died in Florence on November 5, 1977. He was also a friend and teacher for Sermig. In 1967, due to the "six day war" between Israel and Palestine, the world seemed on the verge of a new conflict. Ernesto Olivero says: «In that period for the first time I heard about Giorgio La Pira, mayor of Florence, the only voice that was raised loud and clear in favor of dialogue and peace. His ideas fascinated me: they referred to the prophet Isaiah's announcement of peace, the transformation of weapons into work tools. I don't know why, but I thought that sooner or later the Lord would use me for something like that. Sixteen years later, the transformation of the former military arsenal of Turin into the Arsenal of Peace, now home to Sermig, would begin. I went to see La Pira in Florence. His person, his conviction that the three great religions, daughters of Abraham, could meet peacefully struck me a lot. He was a great example for me and encouraged me to continue on the path of peace ».
The friendship with La Pira continued over the years through the Foundation named after him, of which Fioretta Mazzei, his secretary and collaborator, was president for years. The Sermig awarded the annual “Peace craftsman” award to the Foundation.

La Pira was convinced that the prophecy of Isaiah, according to which one day "a people will no longer raise the sword against another people, they will no longer practice the art of war", would sooner or later come true. The jurist end given to public affairs was not a utopian, he knew that the goal of universal disarmament could be achieved, but one condition: it had to pass through human promotion. “Working for world peace is so essential for everyone. What else to do? The historical point we are at is more and more this: there is no alternative to the dream of peoples to survival ", he wrote to us. As mayor, he fought to prevent the dismissal of two thousand workers from the Pignone workshops, then from the “Galileo” and the “Cure”. He opened a Milk Center for poor children, requisitioned accommodation to give them to the evicted. He did not discount anyone, and to Don Sturzo who advised him to be cautious, he replied: "What should a mayor do in the face of 10,000 unemployed, 3,000 evicted, 17,000 poverty booklets: can he wash his hands?".

With the collaboration of Hon. Nicola Pistelli, Florence was equipped with a number of schools that delayed the school building crisis in the city for at least twenty years. Convinced that dialogue is the ideal means to successfully build bridges of peace, he invented the "Mediterranean Talks" open to Israelis and Arabs. He speaks to the Moscow Soviet, flies to Vietnam from Ho Chi Min, writes to the powerful of the world: "With the atomic bomb, humanity walks on the apocalyptic ridge of history" indicating the urgency to "take the paths of peace" .. All his action, however, starts from the relationship with God: the first hours of the morning they find him in meditation, he continually prays the rosary that he has in his pocket, he attends Mass daily. For him, prayer is a bridge: the small facts of everyone's life are in close dialogue with heaven, and then we can "hope against all hope", certain that it is God who guides history, an ideal ship, towards a safe harbor. Faith and charity united: "I want a city where there is a place to pray (the church), a place to love (the house), a place to work (the workshop), a place to think (the school) and a place to heal (the hospital) ».

Dear Olivero,
I answer 4 months later! Do you forgive me?
And here is the answer: - yes, there is no alternative to the "disarmament of Isaiah": the ARA PACIS (as it was in the time of Augustus) is today - and increasingly - the only meaning of history: it constitutes the New Frontier that Kennedy saw, and that John XXIII first pointed out in 1958 (in a certain sense) to the whole family of peoples!
Turn military spending into economic plans (for developing peoples): $ 300 billion a year!
Only in this way can the "burden of population growth (7 billion men in 20 years)" be resolved and the immense contribution of talents that God gives to men can be introduced into the historical circle!
Thanks for what you do.

La Pira


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