On the occasion of the World Day of the Poor, the Community of Sant'Egidio in Antwerp organised a meeting as part of the Synod convened by Pope Francis for the universal Church.
The meeting - held in the church of St Charles Borromeo, place of prayer of the Community of Sant'Egidio - wanted to be, according to the intentions of the Synod, a moment of listening and participation particularly addressed to the poor.
After a welcome introduction by Father Rik Hoet on the meaning of the Synod, Deacon Pieter Wieers presented the three themes of the Synod: Community, participation and mission.
A number of people, representing different life situations, such as the elderly, the homeless and migrants, gave their testimonies. They were echoed by many spontaneous interventions, which showed great enthusiasm for this synodal moment, a sign of an "inclusive, affective Church, where there is no proselytism, but listening". In particular, the poor expressed their gratitude for being listened to and appreciated, and the joy of seeing their place in the Church recognised. Many written contributions were also handed in to the meeting secretariat.
A liturgy celebrated by the Bishop of Antwerp, Mgr Johan Bonny, concluded the day.