Sunday 15 September 2013

The communities of Sant’Egidio all over the world join with the universal Church in the prayer vigil for peace on September 7th

All of the communities of Sant’Egidio everywhere in the world have embraced Pope Francis’ call for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria this past September 7th.
In Rome Sant’Egidio joined the many people (100,000 are estimated to have participated) that
were converging on Saint Peter’s Square to pause, listen and meditate, together with the Pope. It was a moment of togetherness and high spirituality. All feelings of powerlessness and resignation were confronted and defeated. It was the victory of faith and hope in He who is the Lord of history, the Prince of Peace, in He who is capable of destroying any wall of separation.
In many other dioceses, in about seventy countries of all continents, the communities of Sant’Egidio have inspired similar moments of prayer presenting God, together with Christians from different persuasions and women and men of goodwill and from all religions, with a unanimous invocation for Syria and for the various conflicts and tensions that afflict the planet.
This took place, to name but a few countries, in Germany and France, in a Europe that appears less capable than in the past to evoke an anti-war movement, but is still striving to find an exit strategy from the dead end of confrontation, from the risk that is inherent in the policies of ultimata. Prayer moments were also held in Africa which is marked by too many wars and dreams of a return or consolidation of peace; in Malawi and the Ivory Coast (in the city of
Abidjan, the Community showed the live images of the event being held in Rome); in the tormented Democratic Republic of Congo (in Goma, tragically, war is right around the corner); in Rwanda (as shown in the picture, the vigils organized by the principal dioceses of the country and presided over by the local bishops were particularly crowded); in Latin America, plagued by widespread violence; and in Asia, a continent in which the relationship between cultural and religious diversity is crucial in view of a twenty-first century that needs to move towards coexistence and dialogue (the picture shows the vigil in Faisalabad, in Pakistan).
As Pope Bergoglio said in his meditation on September 7th: “Humanity, made in the image
and likeness of God, is one family […]: the other person is a brother or sister to love. […] God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other.” But the world of God can be our world, the world of man, to the extent that, together with the Pope, we choose “not the conflict but the encounter”, to the extent that we will continue to pray and work for peace. 

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