On behalf of the Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Italian Republic, whom I am honored to represent here in my capacity as Dean, I am very pleased to express to you my best wishes for the coming Christmas holidays and for the beginning of the new year.
This traditional gathering has always been a solemn event that manifests the bonds of brotherhood between Italy and the countries we represent and the standing this Nation enjoys among other peoples. Unfortunately, this year my colleagues cannot join me for reasons we know all too well, but this in no way diminishes the spirit and intensity of our feelings for you and the beloved Italian people.
Moreover, this meeting acquires an even more significant and profound value: this exchange of greetings is a way for us to look with confidence to the year that is about to begin, given the historical situation we have experienced. We all hope that the coming months will provide the answers that all humankind has been waiting for, not only to the pandemic, but also to the many other political and social issues that threaten peace and cooperation between peoples and nations.
In these last few months, we had to reclaim everything we had taken for granted for a long time and had always been part of our daily lives. We had to deal with the distances this pandemic has forced upon us, changing our points of view and units of measurements. At times, these unintentional separations - which humankind has suffered and not chosen, unlike most times in recent history – have risked changing our very essence.
We found ourselves being vulnerable but, at the same time, aware of our shared human values as they were inexorably fading, in the quickening pace of a world that was forced to rethink its way of life. And now we ponder on freedom about which you, Mr. President, have stated that it "risks becoming weaker when the level of cohesion, unity among stakeholders is dwindling" (Address to the Members of the National Association of Italian Municipalities - ANCI).
Cooperation between governments and institutions, businesses and science give us hope that we will emerge from this global health emergency better than before; this requires responsibility, foresight and a spirit of solidarity. To be honest, this situation has not only upended our plans, but has also brought out the best in us, that is, the charity or goodness that are found in selfless service for the good of all. Suffice to think about the testimonies of so many physicians and nurses, essential and care workers, and people who have dedicated their time and efforts to the most vulnerable segments of our population. This generous compassion for others gives us certainty for the future because, as Pope Francis reminds us, "no single act of love will be lost. All of these encircle our world like a vital force" (Evangelii Gaudium, 279). And it is this vital force that is a seed of hope at this time of uncertainty and a resource for a new beginning.
Therefore, it is up to all of us, as you, Mr. President, stated in your meeting with the Assembly of the National Confederation of Craft Trades and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, on October 24, to have "confidence in our ability to face this crucial moment with choices and behaviors that allow us to pursue growth recovery, curbing infections and avoiding even higher costs for society as a whole and for each of us".
The example we must follow is the heroism of many; the understated and silent professionalism of thousands of citizens elicits feelings of gratitude, together with vivid memories of those who are no longer with us.
I will end by expressing my firm belief that the regenerative force that has always been present in all human beings will allow us to overcome this challenge too, as has been the case many times before in our history, and we will emerge renewed from these trying times.
Thank you, Mr. President. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.