The international Award “Francis of Assisi and Carlo Acutis for an economy of fraternity” was instituted by the Archbishop of Assisi on October 10, 2020, the day of the Beatification of Carlo Acutis. It aims to encourage fraternal economic projects “from below,” beginning with the difficult conditions faced by our suffering and least brothers and sisters. The Award looks to inspire people with scarce economic possibilities in a generative way, especially the young under the age of 35 and in the poorer regions of the world, to come together (“Brothers all” – Fratelli tutti) and present, as change-makers, a specific and valid project, submitted to the careful examination and judgment of an Evaluation Commission, to benefit and meet the concrete needs of the most disadvantaged and neediest in their midst.
As Pope Francis has expressed continually in his pontificate, Saint Francis of Assisi is an inspiration for a new relationship with our poor and marginalized sisters and brothers: “Saint Francis offers us an ideal and, in some sense, a programme. For me, who took his name, he is a constant source of inspiration” (Letter for “Economy of Francesco” event, May 1, 2019). This is why we believe that from Assisi, the words of Jesus from the Crucifix of San Damiano need to ring anew today in a pandemic-stricken world: “Go, Francis, repair my house, which, as you see, is falling into ruin.” In the stripping of both his clothes and material goods before his father, Pietro Bernardone, and the then Bishop of Assisi, Guido, the young Francis initiated, through the concrete sign of his nakedness, an economy different to that of his earthly father: reliance on providence as a generative instrument for the good of all and, above all, the poorest and abandoned. Thus, Francis could exclaim: “From now on I will say, ‘Our Father who art in Heaven,’ and no longer, ‘Father Pietro Bernardone’.”
Inspired by Saint Francis, Blessed Carlo Acutis, entombed in Assisi in the Sanctuary of the Renunciation, is himself an example of the “economy of fraternity,” especially for the young. His deeply Eucharistic spirituality was made manifest in his love for the poor, distinguished not only by almsgiving, but closeness to and befriending those in need, something that Pope Francis has often encouraged in our relations with the poor. “What alone will make us truly beautiful in God’s eyes,” Carlo tells us, “is the way we love God and our neighbor.”
In a world shaken by the pandemic and confronted by so many other challenges, the international award “Francis of Assisi and Carlo Acutis, for an economy of fraternity” aims to be an inspiration for holiness, beauty and goodness through new models of the economy, needed for these times.