Thursday 26 March 2015

Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo - The members of Youth for Peace and the embrace of the elder “sorcerers”

In Bukavu, in the western part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Jeunes pour la Paix movement (Youth for Peace), an initiative that Sant’Egidio is carrying out in the high schools of that country, is working to bring about that embrace between different generations for which Pope Francis has been praying: ”I so much would want a Church that
challenges the culture of disposal with the overflowing joy of a new embrace between the young and the old. And this is what I ask for from the Lord, this embrace!” 

A cycle of meetings has recently taken downtown, with conferences, parties, prayers and demonstrations, all inspired by one idea: that of changing the way society looks at the elderly beginning with the younger people, against every prejudice, all forms of violence, for
an intergenerational solidarity, for a more humane and peaceful coexistence.
Too often in fact in Congo, but in many other Sub-Saharan contexts as well, the elderly are thought of as sorcerers and are accused of stealing the life of the younger ones to extend their own. The members of Youth for Peace are convinced they are capable of setting in motion a cultural revolution, a process of change destined to bring about a real and more solid rebirth of the African continent. The growth of this continent can never be solely economic but will have to be founded on the recovery of those humanistic and deep values that are at the heart of every culture. 

Wednesday 11 March 2015

San Salvador - On Radio Paz, Sant’Egidio presents “Conociendo a Mons. Romero” and talks about the Bishop and martyr soon to be beatified

As we approach the beatification of the Bishop and martyr Oscar Arnulfo Romero - the official announcement of the date of the ceremony to be held in San Salvador is expected soon - there is an increased desire to better understand the life, the passion, the message of he who was one of the most important personalities of the Latin American Church of the twentieth century. 

For this reason Radio Paz, the radio broadcaster of the archbishopric of San Salvador, asked the Community of Sant’Egidio of El Salvador to illustrate in a series of radio broadcasts the life of Mons. Romero, a pastor who gave his life to bear testament to his love for the Gospel, for the people entrusted to him and for the poor, during times and within a context that were highly polarized between guerrilla and repression. 
O the Community’s website,, you can hear the podcasts of the broadcasts which describe the entire journey of the archbishop, his death at the altar while
celebrating mass and the steps of the beatification process. The speaker is Jaime Aguilar, the head of Sant’Egidio in El Salvador.
The Community of Sant’Egidio rejoices with all of the people of El Salvador for the imminent beatification. This tribute is like an answer to the invocation of millions of Salvadorans who have over the years visited the tomb of their bishop, in the cathedral’s crypt, and of tens of millions of believers and men and women of good will from all over the world who saw him as a martyr for justice. “Killed for all those killed / […] killed because he became the people” David Maria Turoldo, an Italian religious poet used to sing. “Will it always be this way, Lord?” he asked himself. The upcoming beatification demonstrates the power of example of the martyr, life that springs out of his blood, the sign that violence and injustice are not the last word in the history of man and the world.

Monday 9 March 2015

Sanguié, Burkina Faso - The “Bravo!” birth registration program is carried out in the schools of the province

In February of this year the BRAVO! program has launched a birth registration campaign for all of the students of the Sanguiè province, in central Burkina Faso, west of the capital Ouagadougou. 

That province is inhabited by approximately 350 thousand people, most of them farmers and herders. In the ten municipalities that comprise the province there are more than 200 primary schools, some of them very distant from the registration centers.
BRAVO! plans on reaching them and register everyone, between now and June, to ensure the pupils’ rights to a name and an education. Without birth registration they are unable to take the final exams of the first cycle of studies and this denies them access to secondary schools.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Rome, Italy - Youth for Peace and the middle school students say “No” to war and “Yes” to friendship between generations

The annual contest for middle school students closed yesterday, in Rome, in a large and very crowded hall in the Roman EUR neighborhood, the Palatlantico. The event, “Living Together 2015”, is in its fifth year and was organized by the Youth for Peace movement of the capital. 

Approximately one thousand students from all parts of Rome watched a show presented by, among others, the popular show host Max Giusti. The show included testimonies, videos, and performances by very young talented artists from the musical laboratories Sounds for Peace.
The works produced in these first few months of school and filed with the examining jury were very numerous. Some where somewhat “unripe”, others more refined, but all reflected an enthusiasm that spread contagiously among the adolescents and had led them to reflect on a variety of issues, such as the friendship between the young and the elderly and the value of intergenerational solidarity , the memories of the wars of the previous century and of the Shoah, the desire to live a time of peace, coexistence and inclusion.
The elderly played a fundamental role in preparing the convention. They helped the younger ones to see the peace enjoyed by a large part of Europe - though confronting a scenario that Pope Francis did not hesitate to label a “piecemeal third world war” - as a precious
treasure, not to be wasted but to be preserved and passed on to the whole world and to the times to come.
It was beautiful to see so many young people who, with conviction and joy, emphasized the value of peace and stated their desire to work for peace. Just one hundred years ago many people of their same age demonstrated in the streets of Rome demanding Italy’s intervention in what would later be called the Great War. This allows us to measure the great leap forward that the shared memory of the errors of the past and the common creation of a new civic conscience have made possible in these decades. This work must absolutely not be abandoned but instead be carried on and disseminated more deeply, this is the commitment of the Youth for Peace, of the Community of Sant’Egidio as well as the schools and all men and women of good will.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Cape Verde - Emergency aid following the Pico do Fogo eruption

Sant’Egidio and the Cape Verdean community of Rome have recently sent emergency aid to the population of the Ilha de Fogo island of the Cape Verde archipelago. 
For several weeks now the island has been devastated by the violent eruption of the Pico do Fogo, a volcano that is displaying an extremely destructive level of activity. Two locations on the island have been completely evacuated and many thousand inhabitants have lost all they owned. To assist them, several containers filled with children clothes and blankets, as well as other immediate necessities have been shipped from Italy.