Steps For Peace


On several occasions, Pope Francis has invited everyone to take concrete steps for peace. With The Economy of Francesco, we’d like to take this invitation seriously.

Let’s take as a reference, once again, the example of another Francis who, 800 years ago, arrived unarmed at the gates of Cairo to meet the Sultan of Egypt, al-Malik al-Kamil. Similarly, with the Youth of the Economy of Francesco, we want to walk the 4,000 kilometers (8 million steps) that separate Jerusalem from the city of Assisi. A pilgrimage “divided into parts” to remember all the wars that inflame the world, to which everyone can participate by donating “steps” through a pedometer mobile application. A relay race through the 5 continents in which young people will ideally pass the Franciscan cord,

a symbol for us of a disarmed economy because it is poor, chaste, and obedient.

At the end, after the 8,000 steps, a delegation will take the Franciscan cord to young people in Jerusalem, simply to ask for peace, with the poverty of words and diplomatic strategies that animated Francis 800 years ago, with the diplomacy on our knees that the Francis of today asks of us. In this way, Assisi, from being a city that calls us to meet in order to build peace, is once again a city from which we set out to beg for peace.


Among the efforts we are making with Economy of Francesco is the attempt to translate the life and message of the son of the merchant of Assisi into gestures of the new economy. We are aware that Francis, trained from his childhood in the school of his father’s workshop, translated (perhaps not always consciously) the message of the Gospel through gestures and words typical of the economy that the Pope asks us to revive. An economy with a soul, an alternative to an economic paradigm that, on the contrary, generates war and death.

One of the moments in Francis’ life that we have not yet studied in depth and would like to place at the center of this project is Francis’ encounter with the Sultan of Egypt. This encounter, in its simplicity, shows that it is possible to go to the “enemy” unarmed, in order to initiate a new dialogue. Similarly, with the Economy of Francesco, we want to journey from Assisi to Jerusalem. In recent years, we have realized that our Gospel economy must find steps to walk on, to incarnate and nourish itself in the wounds of our times, even beyond conferences and university classrooms.


The symbol of this initiative could once again be the Franciscan cord, already present in the logo of EoF and in the etymology of the word peace. Peace comes from the Sanskrit root pa̤/pak/pag Рto bind, to weld, to unite, which is also found in the Sanskrit of the word pa̤-as: cord. Thus the cord becomes a symbol of an economy of peace built through dialogue. The Pope also recently called for the courage of dialogue, the need to find agreements, to tie knots on a cord. The courage of the cord will be the symbol of this long journey.

We would like to ask all the pilgrims to carry a Franciscan cord during their walk for peace, which would become a witness to be passed on and carried all the way to Jerusalem. Each peace pilgrim could share a video on social media of receiving the cord, walking, and passing it on to another person beyond the screen, to animate even the virtual squares with our message of peace and of an unarmed economy.


It is inconceivable today to imagine traveling the distance between Assisi and Jerusalem on foot. Almost 4,000 kilometers, 8 million steps. Or maybe not: the idea is to start a worldwide crowd stepping campaign. It’s the equivalent of a crowdfunding campaign, but where you can donate steps, kilometers traveled on foot around the world for the cause.

The need for the journey to be done on foot allows us to draw attention to the integral ecology of Laudato Si’. An economy that recognizes the complexity of relationships that today keeps the cry of the poor and war victims tragically linked to the cry of the Earth.

This journey “divided into parts” aims not only to complete a symbolic challenge, but also to bring and live the Gospel Economy in cities around the world and in virtual squares.

Participants who wish to donate steps will be invited to read the Covenant signed by The Economy of Francesco with the Pope in the places where they will walk, together with their fellow pilgrims or with some of the inhabitants. They will also be able to accompany their footsteps by carrying a Franciscan cord, a symbol of peace, and filming with their cell phone cameras the moment when, ideally, they receive the cord, walk, and finally give it to another pilgrim. These videos, along with readings in all the languages of the world of the EoF Commitment, will be shared and collected on social media using hashtags and – eventually – then compiled into a documentary film that tells the “steps” of this new economy with a soul.



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