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The dream of a Gospel that makes its way

 Il sogno di un Vangelo che si fa strada  DCM-008
02 September 2023

“The context often summons us” from the most marginal and invisible places in our cities. During the pandemic, I contributed to the writing of The Gospel and the Road, with the archbishop of Palermo, Msgr. Corrado Lorefice and the theologian Don Vito Impellizzeri, director of the Institute of Religious Sciences of the Faculty of Theology of Sicily. The volume became an itinerant itinerary of listening to “the cry of the poor” of our social and existential peripheries and became a witness to an ethical restlessness in the face of an unjust society that continues to treat the poor like waste in our cities.

The territorial context is not a neutral scenario. It asks us to take a stand next to the oppressed, the losers in history, “to put our feet in the mud of the world’s streets and our hands in the flesh of wounded and suffering humanity”, to smell the neighborhood, of the people, to build “from below and from within”. Our territories are immersive and humble knowledge that poses concrete questions to the Church and the world.

Palermo is a city in Sicily at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. It represents a bridge between Africa and Europe. It is a city with strong colors, not hypocritical and sometimes even brazen in showing its contradictions. The city is also a place of conflict between the violent Mafia rules and a growing mild and courageous desire for freedom, redemption and justice. Palermo, like Jericho, is the place of the Good Samaritan, the inn and the community of care; the “all-port” city to which migrants land laden with hopes wounded and weary from their long journeys across deserts and seas. The Mediterranean is the red thread that binds our stories to History, the new Lake Tiberius where the three great monotheistic religions -Judaism, Christianity and Islam- meet.

The book is divided into three parts, pastoral, sociological and theological. In the first part, Archbishop Lorefice proposes a creative rereading of Francis’ Fratelli Tutti magisterium and a contextualized theological-pastoral reflection, faithful to the incarnation. In the second, in the sociological part, which I wrote, the narrative of the redemption of the stone the builders disgard founded on the pedagogy of the dream, which becomes the very reason for hope, a crack in infinity through which participatory research-action on the margins of the city takes place. In the third part, Impellizzeri posits as a new step the need and desire to theologically assume the co-responsibility for change, the innovation in the thinking about a Christian style with which to experience it and tie it to the story of God's reign among us.


The volume aims to be an unfinished work that is completed by listening to those it meets, a synodal path and community discernment. We crossed the streets and let ourselves be crossed by the multiple experience of the city; we entered the intimacy of homes, met faces, crossed glances that expressed the fatigue of living, desires for happiness and search for meaning in our urban peripheries. The dreaming pedagogy was the lens through which to offer a free look at reality. “We dream as one humanity, as wayfarers made of the same human flesh, as children of this same earth that hosts us all, each with the richness of his faith or convictions, each with his own voice, all brothers!”  (Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti)

By Anna Staropoli
Political Training Institute Pedro Arrupe of Palermo and Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of Religion Theological Faculty of Sicily