In the last weeks the Northern Czech Republic, near the German border, saw the rise of frequent anti-gypsy protests and numerous conflicts between local and Roma citizens living in this area. There is a real risk that these expressions of hard feelings may spread to the rest of the Country.
For this reason, on Sunday 23rd October, the Czech Communities of Sant'Egidio invited all the local people to an Ecumenical Prayer for peace and living together, which was held in the Catholic Church of the small town of Rumburk.
They invited local and national representatives from different Christian Churches, as a sign of peace, unity and friendship.
The Dean of the Catholic Church of Rumburk presided over the prayer, while the meditation was held by Rev. Joel Ruml, President of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic and Head of the Protestant Church of the Bohemian Brothers. Rev. Ruml, who had participated to the recent prayer for peace in Munich, underlined the necessity not to be ruled by the masters of division, because we are all destined to live together. The way to the future implies looking at the other’s face and recognising him as a brother.
The Community wished to remember Pope Benedict XVI’s words, when he invited everyone “to look at the face of the other, discovering he has a soul, a story and a life: he is a man and God loves him like I am loved”. It was the sense of this prayer: to look at the face of the other, to recognise him and say “we wish to live together; my future is also yours and yours is mine”.
Many people attended the prayer: parishioners from Catholic and Evangelical Churches of the district, but also several Roma people, who shared a moment of great comfort and hope with many brothers and sisters. After the prayer, a concert of traditional gypsy music and classical music helped to build a climate of joy and fraternity.
This event of peace and dialogue was a sign for a region that is living a difficult moment, but also for the whole Country that looks at the North and asks itself if it is still possible to live together.