From May 25 to 29 it was held in Leipzig, eastern Germany, the hundredth "Katholikentag", the national congress of German Catholics, which has taken place every two years in a different city since 1848.
The title of the 2016 edition, which was attended by about 50,000 people, was "Behold the man." Bishops, representatives of the political and cultural world, Christians of different denominations, met to pray, to talk about faith and the many challenges of a globalised world with the participation of many, even non-believers.
Leipzig, in fact, is one of the most secularised cities in Germany, where Christians are few. Pope Francis sent a video message in German to the participants in which he urged to make more and more space in their lives for the voice of the poor and destitute. “Behold, the man!”- said the pope - In our society, we often meet the man exploited and mistreated. We see others discussing the value of his life and forcing him to a quick death even in the face of illness and old age. We see men stripped naked, thrown here and there, and deprived of their dignity, because they no longer have work or are refugees. Here we see Jesus suffering and tortured..."
The Community of Sant'Egidio was again present at the Katholikentag with a stand to which many people have come to talk and learn more about the work of Sant'Egidio. In the central church of Leipzig, just built, the community prayed for peace and for the poor with the participation of so many. Sant'Egidio organised a number of meetings with young people to talk about refugees. Many young people, from many German cities, listened carefully to the testimony of Mohammed, who fled from Aleppo. He recounted the tragedy of his people and his city, for years under the bombs.
The youth of the community talked about the "Schools of Peace" in Germany, which in recent months have welcomed many refugee children, serving as an integration and living-together lab, an example of a welcoming and open society that has no fear of those that are foreign.