On the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the Community of Sant'Egidio, the XVI International Meeting "Christians and pastors for the Church of tomorrow" is being held in Rome, attended by more than a hundred bishops from various parts of the world, particularly Africa, Asia and America Latin besides Italy and Europe. Today, the conference participants were present in St. Peter's Square at the general audience of Pope Francis, who said he was "delighted" to welcome them to Rome.
The theme of the meeting - "The joy of the Gospel" – is developed with presentations, exchanges of experience and comparisons between the high prelates, but also with the direct participation in the service activities undertaken by the Community to the poor, the elderly and those in prison.
Some of the bishops come from areas particularly affected by war or ethnic-religious conflicts. Among them, mons. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Nigerian Episcopal Conference, mons. Ruboneka Théophile Kaboy, Bishop of Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo), mons. John Baptist Odama, Archbishop of Gulu and President of the Ugandan Episcopal Conference, mons. Boutros Marayati, archbishop of the Armenian Catholic Church of Aleppo. The issues of peace and the work of Sant'Egidio for the resolution of conflicts will be discussed with them in particular.
Other Evangelical and Anglican Orthodox bishops are also present at the Meeting. This evening they listened to the introductory lecture by prof. Andrea Riccardi on "The surprise of Pope Francis". Tomorrow they will be at St. John Lateran for the Eucharistic liturgy on the occasion of the anniversary of the Community of Sant'Egidio. A visit to the Ardeatine Caves is also scheduled.