The ‘Economy of Francesco’ event in Assisi could be the next coronavirus domino to fall as organisers and Vatican authorities study the possibility of postponing the conference planned for March 26-28.

– Decision on go-ahead to be made early March: letter to participants

In a February 25 letter published today by Argentinian national news agency Télam, organisers of the ‘Economy of Francesco’ summit told the more than 2,500 young people already registered for the event that preparations continue apace for the encounter.

The summit – which will bring young people into dialogue with some of the world’s most prestigious economists, business leaders and change makers – is designed, in the Pope’s own words, “to give a soul to the economy of tomorrow”.

“We are fast approaching the event we are all working on with great enthusiasm”, conference organisers told the young people planning on attending.

They added: “We look forward to welcoming you at the city of Saint Francis for a wonderful and generative meeting, which will end with a shared ‘covenant’ with Pope Francis”.

“However”, the organisers continue, “you all have heard about the serious crisis in different parts of  the world and,unfortunately, also in Italy, caused by the ‘coronavirus’ epidemic”.

“We are currently following with the greatest attention the development of the situation, while waiting for Public Authorities’ guidance and decisions on what to do”, the ‘Economy of Francesco’ conveners advise.

“Under no circumstances does the Organizing Committee intend to cancel the event, but to postpone it only if necessary. The Committee will send an official notice to all participants in early March, after having made a decision, in agreement with the Holy See.

“We kindly ask you to wait for this notice, on the grounds of prudence, before purchasing or canceling your flight tickets”.

– Organisers: “Coronavirus shows us how we are all interconnected”

Clear that the summit will go ahead on some future date – even if not in March as planned – the ‘Economy of Francesco’ organisers ask attendees “to go ahead with preparing the activities in all possible ways, perhaps with even greater zealousness”.

“‘Coronavirus’ constantly shows us how we are all interconnected”, the conference organisers recall.

“The renewal of the economy we are all aiming for is also meant to provide answers to similar problems, which have now increasingly assumed a global dimension”.

The letter to the ‘Economy of Francesco’ attendees was signed by Bishop of Assisi Domenico Sorrentino and Professor Luigi Bruni of the LUMSA University.

– Cardinal Turkson: “A new form of economy that leaves no one behind”

Just this week, in his message for Lent 2020, the Pope was talking up the ‘Economy of Francesco’ summit.

In that message, Francis again repeated the “need to appeal to men and women of good will to share, by almsgiving, their goods with those most in need, as a means of personally participating in the building of a better world”.

“Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness. We can and must go even further, and consider the structural aspects of our economic life”, the pontiff pleaded in his message, insisting in his appeal to shape “a more just and inclusive economy” inspired by “the spirit of the Beatitudes”.

Presenting the Pope’s Lenten message, Vatican cardinal Peter Turkson explained to ZENIT February 25 that the idea of an “Economy of Francis” can be best described as the putting into practice of an “economic charity”.

The event of Assisi is “an invitation to conceive, to dream, to formulate a new form of economy that leaves no one behind, that puts the person at the center, which makes sure – as the Pope says – that money serves the person” and not the other way around, said Turkson, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.