On the occasion of the feast of the patron saint of Italy, the feast of San Francesco was brought into focus, a devotional lamp lit day and night in front of the tomb of the saint in the basement of the Basilica of San Francesco: it represents Italy, the world and universal peace.
(Vatican News Network)On 4 October, the day of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in Italy, the focus is on the devotional lamps in front of the saint’s tomb. Father Pietro Mariano Carta, a member of the Franciscan Hospitalization Society, told Peace TV that the lamp was a “symbol of unity and peace”. “Since 1939, when Pope Pius XII declared St. Francis patron of Italy, the devotional lamp has been lit from morning to evening”, he said. At that time it was the administrative district of Lazio that offered oil for lamps, and so began the tradition of offering every year oil for lamps by the residents of an administrative district.
Unlike in previous years, this year it is all of Italy to participate in the tradition. The lamp was designed by the architect Ugo Tarchi in 1937 and was placed at the entrance to the basement. With the help of a Filipino monk and a Scottish nun, Father Karta takes care of the lamp. “This devotional lamp represents Italy,” said Father Carta.
Describing the lamp, the Franciscan said: “The semicircle below represents the world; the dove and the olive branch symbolize universal peace.” The periphery is engraved with a sentence from n. 26 of Dante’s Divine Comedy in Paradise. Father Tarki said the lamp is suspended at a height of 1.2 meters and that he can lower the devotional lamp to clean it by pressing a button.
“We clean and add oil every three or four days”, stressed the priest. “Occasionally, the opportunity is used to replace the wick.” Because it hangs high, it can easily collect dust. “However, it only takes a little while to keep it tidy and functional. It’s a chore, and in The 4th of October requires more attention. For Don Tarki the service is the same as that performed by the other religious. The priest concludes by saying: “I know there is a tabernacle there, but I cannot stop praying. I will continue to keep this modest place clean and tidy. “
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