Young people from different European countries, from Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland and Sweden have met in Assisi December 27 to 30 on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Francis, which culminated on Wednesday 29 December, a torchlight procession through the town.
At the end, young people have signed an appeal pledging to spread in Europe a new culture of peace, coexistence and friendship with all, particularly the poorest.
We, young Europeans from Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Sweden, have been gathered by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Assisi, a city of peace, the city of San Francisco.
In an Europe more and more closed and building its walls, where the poor have less and less room and care, Francis calls us to defend and love the poor. He calls us not to be resigned before the reigning pessimism that makes us say that we can not do anything. His example encourages us to take our personal responsibility and believe in the weak force of the Gospel.
25 years after the historic meeting in Assisi among Pope John Paul II and the leaders of world religions, we want to join the call for peace and dialogue, which began here and has been continued year after year by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Europe and worldwide. More than ever the world needs the "Spirit of Assisi," a spirit of peace, friendship and dialogue. With this conviction, we look forward to the next 'Prayer for Peace' in September 2011 in Monaco that, ten years after the attacks of 9/11, is meant as a strong sign of hope.
Together we have a dream for Europe and the world. An open and peaceful Europe where the weak are not marginalized, but where they may find respect, friendship and humanity. We dream of an Europe where racism, antisemitism and antigipsysm are not tolerated. We dream of a generous and magnanimous Europe for Africa and the rest of the world and committed to human rights, peace and justice.
This is why we commit to a more peaceful world where everyone, rich and poor, foreigners and locals, young and old, learn the art of living. From Assisi we start with the unanimous desire to live the joyful message of hope and love that Francis lived and preached in this land, in the desire to learn to love more and to make our common European home more human. This dream we want to convey to young people of our cities and towns to build a new culture of living together.
Assisi, 30 December 2010