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THE COMMUNITY


 
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The Community of Sant'Egidio began in Rome in 1968, in the period following the Second Vatican Council. Today it is a movement of lay people and has more than 60,000 members, dedicated to evangelisation and charity, in Rome, Italy and in more than 73 countries throughout the world.  

The Community of Sant'Egidio is a "Church Public Lay Association". The different communities, spread throughout the world, share the same spirituality and principles which characterise the way of Sant'Egidio:

Prayer, is an essential part of the life of the community in Rome and communities throughout the world. Prayer is central to the overall direction of community life.

Communicating the Gospel,   is the heart of the life of the Community. It is offered to all those who seek and ask for a meaning for their life.

Solidarity with the poor, is lived as a voluntary and gratuitous service, in the evangelical spirit of a Church that is the "Church for all and particularly the poor" (Pope John XXIII)

Ecumenism, is  lived as  friendship, prayer and search for unity among Christians of the whole world.

 

Dialogue, was  recommended by Vatican II as a way of peace and co-operation among religions, and also a way of life and as a means of resolving conflicts.

The Community has as its centre the Roman Church of Sant'Egidio, from which the Community takes its name. From its very beginnings, the Community has maintained, in the area of Trastevere and in Rome, a continuous presence of prayer and welcome for the poor and for pilgrims. 

Its origin

The Community of Sant'Egidio began in Rome in 1968, at the initiative of a young man, who was then less than twenty, Andrea Riccardi. He gathered a group of high-school students, like himself, to listen to and to put the Gospel into practice. The first Christian communities of the Acts of the Apostles and Francis of Assisi were the first reference points.

Icon of Pentecost
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome
True Portrait of Francis of Assisi
St. Francis' Crib, Greccio (Rieti)

The small group immediately began going to the outskirts of Rome visiting the slums, then crowded with many poor people, and they began an afternoon school (its name was "Scuola Popolare" -People's School-, nowadays "Schools of Peace") for children.

The slum near the Cinodromo, Rome, 1968

Since then the community has increased. It is now in more than 73 countries in 4 continents. The number of community members is also constantly growing. There are about 60.000 members as well as many more who are permanently co-operating in the service to poor people and in the various activities of Sant'Egidio without being part of the community in a strict sense. There is also a large number of persons reached by the various activities of service that the community performs.

The School of Peace

 


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