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September 9 2011 | ROME, ITALY

The Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience today, Professor Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant'Egidio Community, the president Marco Impagliazzo and Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia.

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The audience was held on the eve of the Interreligious Meeting of Prayer for Peace in the "spirit of Assisi" to be held in Munich, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising from 11 to 13 September. This year's meeting which is entitled "Bound to Live Together.Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue", will begin with a special memory of the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States, with an audiovisual link to New York. The conference program will unfold in a series of roundtable discussions on various spiritual, political and social topics: leaders of various religions will participate, including 14 cardinals and more than 40 Catholic bishops, Orthodox metropolitans, Evangelical bishops and personalities of the great world religions. Political leaders will discuss with them: the German President Wulff, the Chancellor Merkel, the President of Guinea Conakry, ministers from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Italian Minister Frattini, a minister of the CNT Libyan, and cultural figures.
Some panels will be devoted to the Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Moreover a pilgrimage to Dachau concentration camp is planned: it will be led by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray.
During the audience it was explained to the Holy Father the development of the Community of Sant'Egidio in the world, particularly in Africa, where the Community is present in thirty countries, and in various countries in Asia, including Pakistan: the figure of the martyr Shahbaz Bhatti, spiritually linked to the Community, has been remembered.
The African continent has been mentioned with the development of programs of solidarity of the Community:the DREAM Program takes care of 150,000 AIDS ill people in 10 African countries and has succeeded in the care breaking the power of HIV viruses. The plight of the elderly in many African countries was also reminded: they have no social support and live in condition of extreme marginality, and the Community takes care of them since several years.
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