The greeting of Marco Impagliazzo for the 55th anniversary of the Community of Sant'Egidio
Dear friends, good evening!
It is a joy and a comfort to be so many this evening to celebrate the 55th birthday of the Community of Sant'Egidio. It makes great sense to do so in this Cathedral Basilica of Rome, omnium ecclesiarum mater et caput, the seat of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, and we send our most affectionate and filial thoughts to him. I would like to thank Cardinal Vicar De Donatis, Archpriest of this Basilica, for welcoming us here this evening. The Community was born in this Rome and, in its no longer brief history, bears the traits of its charity and universality.
Rooted in this Church and this city, starting from its peripheries, we have been able to broaden our horizons and our commitment to the entire world. I greet Mayor Gualtieri. The presence of so many members of the diplomatic corps is a testimony to this. I thank them, they represent so many countries where the Community lives and works. This universal openness has brought us into contact with many situations of pain and poverty. Today I am happy to greet some of our brothers and sisters who have joined us from Ukraine. I thank them for their resilience and invaluable humanitarian work they have been doing in so many Ukrainian cities for a year now. The call for peace is even louder after a year of war.
Over the years, we have encountered the great continent that is Africa with its riches, hopes and sorrows. Africa is at the heart of the Community and its history has become ours. We are convinced that a Euro-African vision must increasingly be established between the two continents in order to have a better future for all. Thirty years ago right here in Rome, following more than two years of negotiations, peace for Mozambique was signed through the work of our Community. Don Matteo Zuppi, today a cardinal, who presided over this celebration, was among the mediators of that peace, along with Andrea Riccardi. I thank him for his very profound words, while I wish him and all the Italian bishops present all the best. I would like to greet Laura Mattarella, thank her for her presence, and send through her a deferential greeting to the President of the Republic. We feel him so close and we know that he follows our work with great interest. I address a respectful greeting to the members of the Italian government. We reaffirm our willingness to continue to collaborate on important humanitarian, social, educational and international cooperation programmes. I would like to mention among them the commitment to guarantee a dignified life for many elderly people living alone or in solitude in our country and the humanitarian corridor programme for refugees implemented together with the Federation of Evangelical Churches and the Italian Caritas, with the Foreign and Interior Ministries. It is an Italian best practice, which we hope will soon be European, that supports that Italian character of humanity that is a distinctive feature of our society. Let me greet many people who came to Italy with the humanitarian corridors. Today they are perfectly integrated in our country. We are close to so many Syrian friends, who are here, suffering because of the news from their country. And we express to them and to the Turks our full solidarity.
An Italian rabbi manifested his vision of the Community with this message: "The Masters imagine that the sound of the Shofar proclaiming the word of God reaches every corner of the world. Everyone regains moral perfection along with physical perfection at that moment: the deaf regain their hearing, the blind their sight, every illness disappears in order to hear the ten commandments which were heard on Sinai. We can affirm that the Community of Sant'Egidio represents the Shofar's calling function for the whole world, the proclamation of the Word to better the world, aware of the collective responsibility of humanity."
It is this responsibility for the good that we assume from this celebration for the time to come. The support of each and every one of you is so important! Thank you for accompanying us with your friendship, support and prayers.