Sunday, 23 February 2014

Rome, Italy - Religions and violence, a Meeting: “No religious justification for violence”

Notable people from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths met diplomats, scholars and analysts on last Wednesday, February 19th, to discuss the theme “Religions and Violence” at a workshop organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio and “Missio”. 
Several situations have been addressed by participants: Syria and the Middle East, India and Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, the Africa of ethnic conflict and large-scale migration, the “Arab Spring”
countries who are living through a complicated and not always straight-forward transition towards democracy.
Some of those attending already took part in the International Meeting for Peace organized always by Sant’Egidio in September on the theme “Courage and Hope”. And repeated what also Pope Francis reminded them, i.e. that “there can be no religious justification for violence, in whatever form it manifests itself”.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Colombia - For a step of peace

The Community of Sant'Egidio, which has long been committed to support the current negotiations in Havana between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, in the last days has called to a press conference in order to launch an appeal for reaching a peace agreement in the country.
International personalities, including two Nobel Prize winners (archbishop Desmond Tutu and Adolfo PĂ©rez Esquivel), agreed to encourage the parties to continue on the path of peace, moreover to finalize the talks that have lasted 14 months and allowed to converge on two of the five points on the agenda. It's time to put an end to a conflict that has killed 200,000 people and
created three million internally displaced.
As it’s possible to read on the website, the president of the Community, Marco Impagliazzo, said: "The negotiations are at a turning point. Our appeal aims to express solidarity and encouragement so that peace dialogue continues, in the conviction that the necessity of finding a final agreement is now a common acquisition. After the failure of previous negotiations and once established the impracticability of a military way out of the conflict, the convergence of both contenders on the commitment to seek formulas of understanding on controversial items gives us hope".

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Maputo, Mozambique - A DREAM coming true for 12 years: happy anniversary!

In February 2002 the antiretroviral therapy was introduced in the DREAM center of Machava, Maputo, the first DREAM center in Mozambique and whole Africa. DREAM was born at a time when ARV treatment was already spread in the rich world but seemed not fit for Africa; no one believed in the possibility of treating the AIDS sick people in Africa. 
The Community of Sant’Egidio was the first to pursue that dream. And showed the possibility of its coming true. Up to now. With tens of thousands of patients under therapy, with rates of adherence higher than those in the western world, with 23,500 children born healthy from HIV positive mothers, with more than 230,000 people assisted, with 40 day hospital centers and 20
clinical laboratories in ten African countries. 
The starting of the Program in the outskirts of Maputo marked a turning point in the history of the treatment of AIDS. It demonstrated the possibility of treatment in resource-limited settings. DREAM has created a model of AIDS care and prevention of the mother to child transmission of HIV in African contexts that up to today has achieved results never before attained in such sites. 
So happy birthday DREAM, and long live on!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Antwerp, Belgium - Looking forward the Meeting of Religions for Peace

Last 4th February king Abdullah of Jordan promoted together with the Community of Sant'Egidio an initiative of dialogue among representatives of the religions and faiths that are in Belgium.
The initiative starts a path that will lead people of every religion to meet again in Antwerp for the International meeting of the Community of Sant'Egidio “Peace is the Future - Religions and
Cultures in Dialogue”, which will be held from 7th to 9th September 2014.
In the last years the Meetings of Religions for Peace built a common language, a culture of peace, and strengthened a “partnership for peace” with the representatives of civil, cultural and political worlds who walked accordingly.
Today, in this difficult time, with many ongoing conflicts in the world, but also with a sincere search for truth and peace - thinking, for example, to the cultural and spiritual revolution of Pope Francis -, today the spirit of Assisi represents a crucial chance.
100 years after the First World War - the beginning of many wars that have spanned the entire 20th century - it’s time to make a season of peace and justice be established in Europe and throughout the world.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Rome, Italy - The celebration of a history 46 years long: faithfulness to the Gospel, love for the existential outskirts and peace

By logging on to the website of the Community of Sant'Egidio (web page
riends_to_celebrate_the_anniversary_of_Sant_Egidio.html) it’s possible to give a look to the
pictures and read the texts that accompanied the celebration, on February 6th, of the 46th anniversary of this lay movement in the cathedral of Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano. 

Together with whom presiding over the liturgy, mons. Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Substitute at State Secretary, many bishops and other celebrants, as well as a large and various people of friends. The members of the Community and representatives of that world of the needy who also form the family of Sant'Egidio made feast for a long history of faithfulness to the Gospel, of love for the existential outskirts and peace.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Genoa, Italy - Solidarity with the world of the homeless, and a prayer that “the whole city may be as good as you”

One night at the end of January, in Genoa, four Slovak homeless people who were sleeping under the downtown porticos, Alica, Jan, Koloman, and Zuzana, were assaulted, beaten, and severely wounded. It was a disturbing, sad episode, involving the cowardly and inhuman persecution of those whom life had already wounded.
Genoa - both its institutions and citizens - reacted to the event with words and actions of friendship. Approximately fifty people lived “a night as a clochard”, in a sleeping bag, as a sign of solidarity with those who are exposed, each night, defenseless, to a faceless violence.
The Community of Sant’Egidio, for many years a friend of the world of the homeless in Genoa and other cities, organized a prayer in the Basilica of the Annunziata that saw the participation of hundreds of people. Among them were many young people, including the students of “UniversitĂ  Solidale”, who for some time have been engaged in collecting blankets for those
who live in the street.
Koloman and Alica, who had just left the hospital, were also present. On the Community’s website,, we can read the beautiful words of the first of the two: “My wounds have healed but the wounds of the heart are still there. However, it comforts me to see all these people close to us. I would like the whole city to be as good as you.”
The words of the head of Sant’Egidio in Genoa, Andrea Chiapponi: “We feel the need to stop and to listen to the Gospel, not to escape reality but because it is the only way to avoid the growth of rancor and violence in our city. Let us be silent, so that from this silence may be born novel words and feelings, capable of creating unity, of making us into builders of acceptance and peace.”

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Rome, Italy - At the liturgy in memory of Modesta and all those who lost their lives due to the harshness of life on the street “Pope Francis’ hug”

Pope's chaplain, Mons. Konrad Krajewsky, celebrated on February 2nd a special liturgy in remembrance of Modesta and the poor that died on the streets. The mass was held in Santa Maria in Trastevere, where the Community of Sant’Egidio invited all the homeless people of Rome.
It’s now a long tradition. The memory begun 30 years ago after the death of a homeless elderly woman, Modesta Valenti, who died at Termini station and was not rescued because “was
dirty”. After her name a long list of other names were remembered. For each name, those who wanted lighted a candle. It meant a lot for all, especially for those who live without anything: to remember the names of their friends is also the certainty that he will not be forgotten.
At the beginning of the liturgy Mons. Krajewsky brought to the participants the greeting of Pope Francis himself: “This morning, before leaving home to come here with you, I greeted Pope Francis telling him that I would come to celebrate this mass. He listened to me and then said: I will not be able to be there, but tell everyone that I send them a strong, strong, strong hug!".
At the mass attended hundreds of poor people. For them, after the celebration, a great lunch was prepared in the venue of Santa Maria in Trastevere parish.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Boston, United States - The martyrs, sign of hope and unity among the Christian Churches

From 18th to 25th January the Church celebrated the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a time of reflection in union with Christians of all denominations, enhanced this year by the memory of
the 50th anniversary of the historical meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople.
In this perspective, in order to live together an invocation of unity and mutual commitment in faithfulness to the Gospel, the Community of Sant'Egidio in Boston invited many people to celebrate a Prayer of the Martyrs at the Mission Church, under the guidance of Cardinal O'Malley, together with representatives of other Churches.
Making memory of the martyrs reveals clearly the heritage of faith and closeness that all Christian denominations share.
Cardinal O’Malley wrote on his blog: “I was very enthusiastic about […] this initiative that really
goes back to Pope John Paul II who, in the year 2000, gathered people in the Coliseum in Rome (which is something of the symbol of Christian martyrdom) where he called upon all Christians to be united in the true ecumenism of the martyrs, those who gave witness to their faith by giving their lives for Christ”.