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Sunday, 31 January 2016 - Magnificat Institute Piano Competition, Winner's Concert

Dear students & parents,
Distinguished teachers,
Distinguished members of the Jury,
Reverend Friars and Fathers,

It is not without emotion that I am here with you again tonight, representing the Swiss Association Friends of the Magnificat (Amici del Magnificat), created in 2008 to support the activities of the Magnificat Institute of Jerusalem. For the 7th year, the Association has been the main sponsor of the Magnificat Institute's Piano Competition. As every year, we will also invite some of the winners for a concert tour in Switzerland and Italy in June 2016.
Year after year we see the students grow and get more experienced and skilled , we see the school evolve, we see known and new faces, existing and new energies: One thing is very clear to me and to all the member of our Association: It is a great Joy and privilege to be allowed to support such a wonderful school and project.
Let me share a few thoughts with you tonight, regarding the very important role of the Magnificat institute.
I first address the students:
Dear students, all of you that participated in the competition,
How can we tell you how proud we are of you ? How can we tell you how important your hard work and efforts are ? How can we tell you how much, with the beauty of the art which expresses the beauty you have inside, you contribute to building true foundations for tomorrow's world ?
If we do good and beautiful things, with quality, then we have a future. If we do bad things, without quality,  our spirit first will perish,  and our bodies at the end: we will have no future.
The world of tomorrow will exist only if we choose to do good things and if we are ready to make efforts and fight for it: It all depends from our free choice, which no human being, no (god or bad) spiritual being,  can take away from us.
You are young but you have made this very important choice of beauty and quality and hard work: Thank you for making this choice.  I wish that you will always stay firm in your choice and persevere throughout your life. Remember that those like you carry the world on their shoulders. It is a great responsibility and also a honour and a gift received.
Dear parents,
In the difficulties of the present times, your choice to send your children to the Magnificat Institute is a very strong testimony and a reason for great hope. Through small steps, through small individual actions, coming from each person and very specially from each family, God acts and is constructing a new world and a new time. God  likes to use the small and the humble to do great things and reveal His Glory and Might.
We, as sponsors of this competition, thank you for your choice and we wish to tell you once more: we are by your side, and we do our best to continue to support your own efforts.
Dear teachers,
A school is as good as its teachers: If the Magnificat Institute has been able to bring forward and reveal so many talents and gifts in its 20 years of existence, celebrated in 2015, and to valorise them, it is thanks to you. You too make a very special choice in continuing teaching here, in this school that gives a message of hope and of seriousness, and which is the fruit of many years of personal and collective efforts. Thank you for bringing the riches of your various cultural backgrounds and professional experience to these wonderful children.
Some of you are the first fruits of the school itself: it is wonderful to watch your enthusiasm, your engagement, your commitment. Like seeds who have grown, you are now giving fruits of your own, spreading the good things you have received.
May you all have the right spirit to continue making this school what it has been and is today, may you be always aware that you have an important part to play to maintain this spirit in the present times. It is something that needs to be fought for: it is not granted. We admire and value so much your efforts and your work, and the wonderful results you obtain. We are very proud and happy to present your students in Europe when we organise concerts with them.
Dear Fr. David, Dear members of the Board, and all those among the friars and the Custody of the Holy Land who have supported the Magnificat throughout the years,
It is thanks to the enlightened decision of the Custody of the Holy Land - and especially of Fr. Pizzaballa, who this year is coming to the end of his mandate, and to which a very special thanks needs to go for his constant support to the school throughout the years of his terms - and to your personal commitment that the school came to live and develop.
The blessing of this school goes well beyond everything you can imagine. It is a benefit to the entire local community, and I have reasons to believe that  it will continue to blossom in many many ways.
Dear Fr. David, Dear Alberto, and Board, dear employees of the school: you experience better than anyone else how many sacrifices are needed for such a project and all its daily difficulties. The Custody has put new and young energies to serve and support it, and we see how much dedication is put into it.
How much Joy it is for us to watch this school developing and growing,  with the academic classes and other initiatives.
All in all, be sure that at our small level, we will continue to support and to help you the best we can: I speak in the name of every single member of the Association, many of which have never come to the Holy Land, but work with immense enthusiasm each year to collect the money to sponsor the competition and other activities we support.
I say to all of you: Arrivederci e all'anno prossimo - goodbye, and see you next year!
Thank you for your attention!