It was the fall of 1973 when four youth left Rome for Naples, where a cholera epidemic had broken out and a young student had taken his own life leaving a dramatic message: "I think it is impossible to live in a city like this". It was the first opening of the Community of Sant'Egidio to poverty "outside the walls" of the city of Rome.
The Cathedral naves were crowded for the fortieth anniversary of the beginning. The whole family of the Community gathered with so many friends that had come from Rome and Italy, including president of Sant'Egidio Marco Impagliazzo: children, elders, the Friends, Roma people, homeless people, students of the school of Italian language and culture. Many friends and benefactors that have accompanied the journey of these years wanted to be present.
Marco Impagliazzo reminded in his greeting that the goal of the forty years represents a turning point in the history of Israel and the Community, the time of the covenant: Sant'Egidio in Naples is faced with the great and fascinating task of visiting so many poor brothers in the city, starting from the children, who were the first ones, but for whom there is still so much to do: "I see the work of the Community in the neighborhoods of Naples as a network that unites, that saves from prejudice and violence".
Cardinal Sepe said in his homily that "the Community of Sant'Egidio has written Gospel pages of charity, dialogue, solidarity, above all with the poorest and the socially excluded, for forty years in Naples”
The Community - continued the archbishop – has founded places of hope in the historic centre and in the existential and urban suburbs of our cities where it is witnessed with joy and giving that you must not live for yourself, you can not be happy alone without the others, but involving the others in the circuit of solidarity and love".
40 years of friendship with the poor, of encounters with people, of dealing with the city and the institutions. 40 years animated by the Gospel and the dream of making the city more human, to witness that even in a tough city like Naples it is possible and beautiful to live.
Photogallery : Sant'Egidio, for 40 years in Naples
VIDEO of the Liturgy : Sant'Egidio, for 40 years in Naples