The Custody of the Holy Land was awarded the Cuore Amico Prize for 2016. The 26th annual award ceremony was held in Brescia, Italy, on October 22 at the San Cristo complex belonging to the Xaverian Fathers.
The “Nobel Prize for missionaries” awarded by the Cuore Amico Onlus Association went to three religious and lay entities: the Custody of the Holy Land, the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity and Enrico Rigosa of the Mato Grosso Operation. Those present at the award ceremony included civil authorities, Fr. Carlo Tartari, representing the Bishop of Brescia, Mons. Bruno Foresti, Bishop Emeritus of Brescia, Mons. Conti and Mons. Voltolini.
“The Cuore Amico Award has the follwing purpose,” said Fr. Flavio Dalla Vecchia, President of Cuore Amico, in his opening remarks, “to support, but also to raise awareness of the missionary activity of the Church. Let me remind everyone about the objectives of the prize: to ensure that the missionary activity of the Church is emphasized, so that the missionaries' work can be seen not as a type of 'spearhead' work, but as an expression of the responsibility which the whole Church takes on by carrying out its missionary dimension.” For the association's tenth anniversary, the prize's founder, Fr. Mario Pasini, was remembered; he created this “Missionary Nobel Prize,” which has been given out every year since 1990.
The Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, also said, “This award helps us carry out our mission with a focus on poverty, struggle and hardship.” During the award ceremony, Fr. Francesco Patton's speech focused on presenting the Custody's activities and he highlighted two important aspects [of the Custody's work]: the commitment on works of mercy, with help for the people affected by the war and the commitment with schools as a practical and forward-looking way of generating peace. “I talked about what our friars experience with the people in Syria, as well as our educational commitment to dialogue, co-existence and, ultimately, peace, “ said the Custos.
In recognition of works of mercy, the Cuore Amico Onlus Fraternity Association donated 50 thousand Euros to each winner. The Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, who was canonized on October 4, stated that they will allocate the funds for the material and spiritual support of people in need in certain Central African countries.
Enrico Rigosa, a layperson at the Mato Grosso Operation, will use the funds for the many prisoners of the six male, female and juvenile prisons in Lima, Peru.
The Custody of the Holy Land will allocate the amount received to support the social works connected to it.