"Tutti", a new socio-cultural centre of the Community of Sant'Egidio has been inaugurated in Merksem, Antwerp. The space, in the church of Sint Bartholomeus, will be a door open to vulnerable people and anyone who wants to help strengthen the social fabric. In concrete terms, a meaningful way of spending the day will be offered, based on the theme of solidarity. There will be free Dutch language practice opportunities for newcomers and other daytime activities. The renovated 'Bart Zaal' will also host shows and parties.
The inauguration ceremony on 18 September was attended by Koen Geens, former Minister of Justice; Emmanuel Ikeobi, Episcopal Vicar of Antwerp; Hilde Kieboom, Vice-President of Sant'Egidio; Tom Meeuws, Councillor for Social Affairs of the City of Antwerp. Singer and actor Hans Van Cauwenberghe performed at the opening party.
"Tutti" refers to "Fratelli tutti", Pope Francis' encyclical on fraternity and social friendship. The project has been carried out in cooperation with the City of Antwerp, the parish and other neighbourhood organisations. The initiative follows the success of other places of encounter and solidarity opened by Sant'Egidio in Antwerp: the "Amici, Coffe & Books" bar in Kammenstraat and the socio-ecological initiative Laudato Si' in Linkeroever. Sant'Egidio has involved children, young people, migrants, elderly people and people with disabilities in its activities for 25 years now. "Tutti", as they say in Italy and now also in Belgium.