Florence (Fides Service) - «In Giorgio La Pira we see a shining example of lay holiness» said Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, Archbishop of Florence when he spoke of the «saintly mayor», during a special Mass for the 26th anniversary of the death of La Pira. The Cardinal recalled that it was La Pira himself who said in 1932, «modern holiness in our century will have this characteristic: it will be holiness of the laity. On the streets today we see people who perhaps in fifty years time will be raised to the honour of the altars: on the roads, in factories, in Parliament, in university halls». Giorgio La Pira, Cardinal Antonelli said, «focussed his entire life on Christ and God. This is why he was holy. Starting from Christ and God he loved passionately the world and worldly realities. This is why he is a lay saint.».
To mark 2004, the centenary year of the birth of La Pira, numerous initiatives have been planed to highlight the various aspects of his personality and draw the attention of all, youth in particular, to his exemplary figure. Celebrations will start on January 9, 2004 at Pozzallo, in Sicily, where La Pira was born, and continue in Messina, where he attended university. A Conference on “La Pira and Europe” will be held in Florence in November preceded by five seminars on different themes each accompanied by the publication of a book as well as a video to render La Pira’s work more tangible for high school students. «Local initiatives will involve the Opera di San Procolo – the President of the centenary organising committee Mario Primicerio explains – with which Professor La Pira began “Mass for the poor”, and the publication of the first two volumes of Omnia Lapiriana». We have also organised a sculpture contest for two statues to place at significant sites in Florence and Pozzallo. Also programmed is the publication of La Pira’s personal letters to Pope Pius XII. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 6/11/2003 – lines 21; words 325)