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Italy – “Educating to care for our common home”. Study Seminar on Ecological Art, Music, Education and Spirituality


(ANS – Messina) – Creation, as our Common Home, requires more and more care, and it is necessary to respond to this challenge starting from an educational commitment: through the beauty and goodness of music, we can reach a deeper awareness of ecological spirituality. This was, in summary, the message launched during the pedagogical formation seminar that took place on 9 April at the San Tommaso Salesian Theological Institute in Messina. Sponsors of the initiative, in addition to the Institute itself, the  Don Giovanni Cravotta Centre for Religious Pedagogy and the group of Salesian Cooperators from the Local Centre.

The seminar made it possible to share and promote the activities carried out in some schools in Vercelli managed by the Filippi La Salle – Scuole Cristiane Foundation, the St Joseph College run by the De La Salle Foundation, the Lasallian Educational Sisters and the Lagrangia Music High School. The event was also held in collaboration with the Messina section of the Italian Association of Geography Teachers (AIIG), whose President, Prof. Stefania La Malfa, moderated the work.

After institutional greetings, work began with the three reports. Prof. Nicola Antonazzo, professor of Pedagogy at ITST, speaking on “Common House and Global Village of Education”, proposed a re-reading of the Global Pact for Education promoted by Pope Francis, through which it was possible to define the theoretical framework and anthropological foundations of the Pontiff’s thought on the care of Creation. Far from treating ecology in the generic and superficial meaning of some green concern, the term “Ecological” for Pope Francis is a way of approaching the complexity of reality by trying to put the relationships that exist between the whole and the parts in the foreground, just as in an ecosystem.

The second address, entitled “The aesthetic education of music: to the good and to the true with the beautiful”, was presented by Prof. Valerio Ciarocchi, Professor of Liturgical Musicology at the San Tommaso Institute. Recognising music as a purely and intrinsically educational trait, the speaker focused on aesthetic-musical education as formation for the good and the true in one with beauty (a reference to the classic kalokaghatia), with a focus on music as an original trait of the “Via Pulchritudinis”, today strongly back in fashion for its communicative strength and originality with respect to issues of pressing relevance.

The seminar ended with the proposal/sharing by Dr. Franco Pistono, environmental educator and doctoral student at UniCusano, on “School, projects, and educational horizon”. Moving from theory to practice, he noticed educational activities carried out in and by the classes of Vercelli institutes; in detail, by children at the Vercelli schools with a presentation curated by the Lasallian Sisters, and by the young people from the Lagrangia High School in Vercelli, with original passage and reflections by the students.

“The activities, focused on music and art, are dedicated to the study and promotion of the culture of sustainability expressed in three ways: environmental, economic and social. Music and art in general, by their nature, lend themselves to an interdisciplinary approach that, starting from what children love and their language, is suitable for dealing with complex issues in a ‘simple’ way “, concluded Prof. Antonazzo.

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