The rediscovery and reappraisal of his work has continued in the course of the years. On 15 March 1994, opening the “Great Prayer for Italy”, John Paul II celebrated Mass together with the Italian bishops over the tomb of St Peter, making mention of Italians who have been important in history.
He caused surprise by including two 20th century politicians: “When, following the Second World War, the programme for the reconstruction of Europe took form, an important part in it was played by two Christians such as Alcide De Gasperi and that charismatic figure who was the Mayor of Florence, Giorgio La Pira”.
In the year 2000 the “Jubilee of the Governors” was celebrated on 5 November (anniversary of La Pira’s death, a date not selected at random). As motto for the day was chosen a sentence pronounced by La Pira for the last Holy Year of his lifetime (1975): “Our participation in Holy Year is not an act of piety but a political act, because it must contribute to the realization of God’s plan in history”.
On 9 January 2004 the President of the Republic Carlo Azelio Ciampi awarded La Pira the gold medal for civil valour; on 25 February a bust of him was unveiled at Montecitorio. The political world, which had so often slammed the door in his face, now celebrates and commemorates him. An admission, though tardy, that seeking to live a holy life did not prevent Giorgio La Pira from being a great political figure.
A very fine reconstruction of La Pira’s life and thought was written ten years after his death by his friend Giuseppe Dossetti, who after sharing many political battles with him became a monk. His role in the fall of the Soviet regime and the return to freedom of religion in Russia has been recognized by the Soviet ex-President Mikhail Gorbachev.
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