Ride 4 Creation has moved online this year.
Italians Francesco Maria Di Pietro and Massimiliano Muzio can’t recreate their first Ride 4 Creation across Italy. But they’re still finding ways to celebrate Laudato Si’ and its message of ecological conversion ahead of Laudato Si’ Week.

The two 30-somethings had planned to ride their bikes 255 kilometers in southern Italy, from Matera to Santa Maria di Leuca, in the Salento region, the far southeastern tip of Italy.

Along the way, they planned to stop and have conversations with locals about Laudato Si’, much like they did in November 2019, during their first “Ride 4 Creation,” when they rode 300 kilometers in central Italy before finishing in Assisi.

Francesco Maria Di Pietro, left, and Massimiliano Muzio
But with the coronavirus restricting almost all travel, including walking, in Italy, the two have adapted their plans and switched to digital bike rides, or, as they say, “una pedalata digitale,” a digital pedal.

“Unfortunately, we can’t ride during Laudato Si’ Week, but our project doesn’t stop,” they said. “We want to replace the bad ‘virality’ of COVID-19 with the good one of Ride 4 Creation.”

Di Pietro and Muzio started their digital pedal on 24 March and have been posting inspiring messages about Laudato Si’ to their Facebook and Instagram at least three times a week. Among their other hashtags, the two are using #LaudatoSi5.

Di Pietro and Muzio plan to post regularly through Laudato Si’ Week, which will take place 16-24 May and honor how far Catholic communities across the globe have come in their journey toward integral ecology.

Ride 4 Creation
Despite their initial plans going by the wayside, the two passionate climate activists never thought of not doing anything to mark the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ papal encyclical.

“This ‘forced break’ due to the COVID-19 global emergency does not have to stop our lives, our plans for the future, our commitment to communities, and the environment. This emergency is unveiling many of the critical issues of our time, allowing us to understand where and how to act for change,” they said.

“In order to be prepared for post-COVID-19 world, we are living this time of break as a training time. It will help us to be focused on our goals, to grow up as a project, and to [strengthen] our resilient attitude.”

The two said that it’s crucial all Catholics passionate about the environment find ways to remain connected and stay motivated to care for our common home.

“This is just a period and God willing, it will end soon,” they said. “We can face the future only if we don’t lose our motivation and desire for change.”