Versione Italiana

Abstract of the article: 'Sacred echo' presages pope choice, of Cathleen Falsani,
on the Californian daily newspaper on line “ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER”


"Sacred Echo": when God wants to get our attention, God doesn't just whisper once and move on. The message comes to us in echoes from many sources and in many forms…

In St. Peter's Square, the night before Pope Francis' election, the echo turned up most powerfully as a barefoot, sackcloth-wearing pilgrim named Massimo Coppo. A devotee of St. Francis of Assisi, Coppo, who lives in intentional poverty (sleeping under the porticoes of the basilica of Assisi), had come to the Vatican Square the night we met to pray for the cardinals in the conclave and for the church itself – that all would be "healed" from corruption and disunity. "I hope it will be a pope who is poor or who understands the poor," Coppo answered when I asked who he hoped the 266th pope would be. "Many people are poor and becoming poor.... A pope that speaks of eternity – of paradise – and even of hell in a world that doesn't like it." That makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

Less than 24 hours later, Cardinal Bergoglio – a Jesuit who has taken a vow of poverty and lives a life of simple austerity despite his role as a prince of the church; a man who has spent his entire ordained ministry reaching out to the sick and impoverished, shunned and disenfranchised people of his native Argentina – stepped into St. Peter's sandals and chose Francis as the name by which the world (and history) will know him. I had seen Coppo in St. Peter's square a few hours before Pope Francis appeared on the basilica's central loggia. "Buona sera, Massimo," I said as I walked past him kneeling prayerfully on a sewer grate while strangers gawked and snapped pictures of him. "Buona sera, signora," he replied, peering up at me from under his burlap hood with gentle, ice blue eyes, after the world met Pope Francis who, as you know, forsook the formal liturgical greeting scripted for him and instead greeted the world with a simple, informal "Buona sera". The next day, Pope Francis preached his first homily in the Sistine Chapel to his brother cardinals. He rejected a text prepared for him in Latin and spoke extemporaneously in Italian (without notes) and boldly about sin, repentance, the Devil, Jesus and the cross.

Apart from the Holy Spirit, which we are told hovers over papal conclaves guiding the cardinals as they silently pray and cast their votes, Coppo might have been the only one in Vatican City not surprised by Pope Francis…


This is a prophetic article, published by the "Corriere dell' Umbria" regarding the day of the beginning of the Conclave,
the content of which has been spread by all news agencies both in Italian and in other languages.



"Corriere dell’Umbria"

Massimo, from Assisi to Rome: barefoot and in a sackcloth. And the people of the web wants pope Francis the First

"I pray for a Franciscan Holy Father"

ROME - For hours under the rain. On his knees. In St. Peter's Square. On the grating of a cloaca, during the Mass which was celebrated by the cardinals. Intent to pray with great participation. His name is Massimo, he is a lay person of 64 years who arrived in the capital directly from Assisi, dressed in a simple burlap sack and barefoot, supported only by a stick. Yesterday the news was spread by all agencies. Many faithful approached the man, moved in their hearts. Many have prayed with him, a young woman instead for a long time has sheltered him from the rain with her umbrella. "I’d wish that the next pope - said the man - were close to the poor. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. That 's why I pray right in front of a cloaca. I hope that the next pope would be a Franciscan."
A inquiry among the people of the web reveals that by now the preferred name for the new pope would be Francis the First, right in honour of St. Francis of Assisi



January 2013

St. Francis is alive!
By Carlo Antonio Ponti (Photo)

(Here’s the extract of a beautiful article published in the Corriere dell’Umbria on Massimo Coppo of Assisi)

Today’s Francis, which you can meet in the evening under the portico of the Basilica of Assisi, elevated to accommodate the pilgrims and penitents, calves and feet purple from the cold because barefoot - Francis he says, went barefoot, only after receiving the Sacred Stigmata, Santa Chiara forced him to put on sandals - and dressed in a jute sack with a hood, does not need to flee from the country in order to pay less taxes, he doesn’t even know what they are, he neither knows vat nor spread, ignores fiscal cliff and iban, pin, fiscal code ... He knows what the euro are when you offer him ten for a brochure in which he tells his story, the life of who exiles himself from the world though staying inside it, aspiring not to change it but to live in it, spontaneously unconsciously as a living example. Until a few days ago I didn’t know about his existence, when Assisi, the land of who invented the crib on Christmas Eve 1222, recalls as "spiritual magic." Here I meet him and he says: "The Saint I am not even worthy to nominate him; if I am here it is to prove that the world is sick and can be cured, with love, or better still, you have to." While talking he asks me who I am, I say I'm a reporter, then the lay brother covered with rags and a woolly beard and lived legs, confides to me that his father too was a journalist and a writer. I ask about the name "Alberto Coppo". I exclaimed that I knew him well, but look what a case! No, it's Providence, he whispers, the light in the blue eyes that defy the frost and the dark. Alberto Coppo! His "Fuori Verde" in 1957 won the Prix Européen of Geneva for unpublished novels. This is the beginning of a beautiful peasant story set in the rural countryside of Terni: "Pietruccio Painu and Marietta of the Pecoraro in the Ash Wednesday evening had met at the Mercy. They came up with cheerful steps greeting with a loud voice ..." The little poor of January 2013, his son, his name is Massimo, is about sixty years old, he has a degree of master frequented in the United States, he has a degree in agricultural sciences with first class honours in Perugia. Now Massimo (Coppo) goes barefoot in the streets of Umbria - I am sure happier than Depardieu and Putin -, with a sack and a cane in perfect joy in the footsteps of who married Lady Poverty . “Giovenale” really could not start better this new year.

Carlo Antonio Ponti



Love and Peace,

do you remember me Professor Massimo Coppo? One evening of July in the Municipal Square in Assisi I came up towards you, and you donated me a book of yours.
I have carefully read in it and as a practicing Christian I say that the Lord Jesus Christ has chosen you to form this association to help others. On my first return to Assisi,
I would be encouraged to meet in person Your Community.
On this occasion I want to dedicate you the words written on the novel "The Human Revolution" by the Nobel Prize for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda:

"Nothing is more precious than peace; Nothing brings more happiness, peace is the starting point for the advancement of humanity." 
May the Lord Jesus protect you in every moment of your days. 


December 2011

From the magazine "the citizen"

That graduate dressed with jute and barefoot

written by the journalist Gilberto Scalabrini

When D'Annunzio “d’announzioed”, he said that every man in Assisi is a Gray Friar , and every woman a Poor Clare… It.’s true, entering in the town everyone suddenly feels himself a "pilgrim." It’s the immanent charm of this land, unique in the world, where one breathes a joy coming out from the houses, the squares, the terraces overflowing in summer with geraniums and carnations , hung upon wrought iron.

They are in every ogival window or small loggia, in every arch, because the geranium is the flower of Assisi. A city with steep streets, towers, stone walls that are already architecture and wisdom.
Finally, the effects of light which, even in a gloomy day like that in which we were last December, favour great effects of light and atmosphere. If  then you close your eyes, you see again the scene of Francis who, before the bishop of the city, strips off  his clothes and gives them back to his father.

In a few days it will be Christmas, and while in my mind I hear a soft music, I wonder: what would it happen if the 25th of December all of us  would renounce to that affluence which  makes us careerists and some of us even Cain? It would be too good to be true. The music now makes me listen to the words of an old song that my father often sang softly.

“Midnight has come, noises turn off, even the sign of that last cafè turns off, the streets are deserted and quiet, a last carriage creaking goes away".

I sing it inside of me, while almost petrified I observe the portrait of a Franciscan very sui generis: barefoot (purple from the cold), in the habit of jute as a medieval penitent , a shoulder strap bag, stopping the few tourists who pass through the square of the lower basilica wrapped in light fog banks.

He is a member of the "Community Families of Bethlehem." His name is  Massimo Coppo, 64 years and  a degree in agriculture with honors. He writes books and tries to sell them on the street. His latest work is called "Prophecies". The small and singular community, was founded in 1981 on the slopes of Mount Subasio, precisely in a farm at Rocca Sant'Angelo of Petrignano. In the beginning it  was called “ Fuming Orient".  The name was choosed by its founder, Marcello Ciai  a wealthy businessman.

In the seventies, Ciai abandoned his wealth for sister poverty. He was followed only by a few, and even today there are not many  persons who found the strength and the joy of living in harmony waiting for eternity. Those few are coming from different countries and cultures.All are joined by  the love for God and the neighbour.

And Massimo? In 1998, he appeared in St. Peter's Square in Rome, barefoot and with the only  jute cloth.He wanted to demonstrate peacefully, but was noticed by the Vatican police as he raised a placard on which there.was reported the message of the Bishop of Assisi, who declared heretical the "Community Families of Bethlehem."

He was immediately sent back to Assisi with expulsion order and cautioned not to put foot in Rome for a year. A month later also his driving licence was withdrawn from him.