Italy – Mattarella at Bearzi: "In these difficult times it is a comfort to be under the reassuring image of Don Bosco"

29 April 2022
Photo : © Quirinale

(ANS - Udine) - Today, April 29, 2022, the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, visited the Salesian Institute "G. Bearzi" in Udine, the school attended by Lorenzo Parelli, the 18-year-old who lost his life in an accident on January 21 while he was doing his last day of apprenticeship in a factory in Lauzacco. As soon as he arrived at the Salesian Institute, President Mattarella met privately with the family of young Lorenzo, with whom he spoke for about half an hour in a classroom made available by the Institute. Afterward, he met the students of the elementary and middle schools and visited the laboratories and workshops of the Salesian Institute, showing great interest in the activities of the students. Finally, in the school gymnasium, he gave a touching talk on youth, work, and safety, which he opened with these words: "In these difficult times it is a comfort to be under the reassuring image of Don Bosco".

Outside the institute, the President of the Republic was welcomed with a banner bearing the words "Welcome President". Meanwhile, in the courtyard of the school hundreds of students, lined up in two wings, waved Italian flags, and sang greeting the President. Among the various authorities welcoming Mattarella was the President of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region, Massimiliano Fedriga, the mayor of the city, Pietro Fontanini, the archbishop of Udine, Monsignor Andrea Bruno Mazzocato, and the heads of the Salesian Institute, led by the Rector of the work, Fr Lorenzo Teston.

Once inside the institute, and after the conversation with Lorenzo Parelli's parents, Mattarella was taken on a tour of the school premises, and some young people showed him the laboratories and their daily activities. "Every time there is a new experience, you learn more and more and then you master the whole mechanism magnificently," said the President observing with admiration the work that was shown to him by Marco, one of the students.

When the time came for the official speeches, young Matteo Lorenzon, Lorenzo Parelli's friend and fellow student, took the floor and recalled his classmate who died prematurely, recalling his competence in studying, his humanity and enthusiasm, both at school and, even more, in his experience in the private company. "The beauty of our school," said the young man, "is that, in addition to studying in the classroom to learn the classical subjects and those that relate to the trade, it allows us to learn by using our hands and working to put into practice what we read in books so that we create a great passion for what we do. A passion that Lorenzo also had."

Young Matteo Lorenzon, after recalling the human traits and commitment of his friend who had passed away, concluded: "Dear President, I thank you because, like Don Bosco, you always carry us young people in your heart."

For his part, the President of the Republic immediately expressed his closeness to and participation in the grief of Lorenzo's family, and noted that in the case of Lorenzo Parelli "what happened was what cannot happen, what must not happen."

Then, after recalling that "safety in the workplace is a right" and that "ensuring it is an absolute duty," he reiterated that this fundamental need will be the focus of the ceremony the day after tomorrow, May 1, at the Quirinale. "But this year we anticipate here the celebration of Labor Day, as a tribute to Lorenzo and all those who have lost their lives in the workplace, so that it is manifested with full clarity that this is not a ritual recurrence, abstract, but an occasion of reproach and concrete reflection on the conditions of the constitutional right to work."

The President then looked at the dimension of young people's access to work: "When we talk about the right to work, about labor rights, about rights in the workplace, young people are often not the center of concern. And, when that is the case, it is a wrong attitude...," he declared.

For this reason, he continued, "the paths that accompany young people to enter the world of work are appreciable"; he then added that "shortening the distance between young people and work is an indispensable condition of development and sustainability for the entire country, even more so in the presence of a demographic crisis that has significantly reduced the presence of young people in the communities."

In this sense, Mattarella explicitly praised the Salesian institute: "Experiences such as this one, at Bearzi, are an instrument that strongly contrasts early school leavers and often encourage the attainment of higher secondary qualification. "

Thinking then of the many current challenges - from the war in Europe to the post-pandemic recovery, to ecological transition - Mattarella observed that "young people are asking for farsighted choices, which must be met." He highlighted the founding value of work, the basis of the Italian Constitution and the common good, and reiterated that "in the past few months Italy has shown that it has the moral qualities not to let itself be confused, not to let itself be distracted from its own path and values."

Finally, to the students, teachers, and all those present, he wished good and proper work for today and proper preparation for the work of tomorrow.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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