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October 27 2012 | TURIN, ITALY

A Church that is a Friend of the Roma

A Pastoral letter of Bishop Nosiglia, Archbishop of Turin, dedicated to "the Roma and Sinti who live among us"

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On Wednesday, October 24 Msgr. Nosiglia, archbishop of Turin, has presented his new Pastoral Letter dedicated to the Roma and Sinti. "You are not foreigners, but fellow citizens and family of God you are no longer strangers or guests, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's family (Eph. 2:20)."  These words are the heart of the Pastoral Letter  that was born from the experience of the encounter with the many families that live in the outskirts of the city. The misery, the inhuman living conditions in the camps and finally the arsonist attack that destroyed one of the oldest settlements, showing a racist culture that is present in some sections of the city, convinced the Archbishop that the Christian community could not ignore the situation.  A new word, as old as the Gospel, and for this very innovative, was needed to help everyone look at the Roma and Sinti in a new way.

More than 4,000 Roma live in the Turin area, a despised minority excluded from the life of the city. With this letter the archbishop wants to put the Roma at the heart of the Church and the of city of Turin and start from them to re-establish a new urban living that is able to include, to forge new bonds of fraternity and solidarity.

An important document accompanies the pastoral letter. It is the result of the joint work of some ecclesial realities. Among these, the Community of Sant'Egidio. The document is entitled "We want to live together" and it is very important innovation, because it contains the idea that the pastoral letter should be translated into concrete actions, a new practice, even at the level of institutions and policies.

The letter is a clear confirmation of the importance of the work that the Community of Sant'Egidio has been doing for many years with the Roma and Sinti not only in Italy but throughout the whole of Europe. 

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