Community of Sant'Egidio

The Community of Sant'Egidio (Italian: Comunità di Sant'Egidio) is a lay Catholic association dedicated to social service, that arose in 1968 under the leadership of Andrea Riccardi. The group grew and in 1973 was given a home at the former Carmelite monastery and church of Sant'Egidio in Rome. In 1986 it received recognition from the Vatican as an international association of the faithful. Its activities include the Church's evening prayer together daily as a stimulus for lending assistance to a whole spectrum of needy persons: "lonely and non-self-sufficient elderly, immigrants and homeless people, terminally ill and HIV/AIDS patients, children at risk of deviance and marginalization, nomads and the physically and mentally handicapped, drug addicts, victims of war, and prisoners."[1] The Community also has a high profile in the area of peace negotiations, in addressing the AIDs epidemic in Africa, and in its opposition to capital punishment. It takes an ecumenical approach in all of its work.

Sant'Egidio is a network of small communities of fraternal life, currently present in 73 countries distributed as follows: Europe (23), Africa (29), Asia (7), North America (8),[2] South America (5). There are an estimated 50,000 Community members.[1]

Community of Sant'Egidio
Comunità di Sant'Egidio
Sant'Egidio
Named afterSaint Giles
Formation1968
FounderAndrea Riccardi
Founded atVirgil High School, Rome
TypeInternational association of the faithful of pontifical right; NGO
PurposeCare for the needy; arbitrate conflicts
HeadquartersSant'Egidio, Rome
Location
  • 73 countries
Region
Europe, Africa, America, Asia
Membership
Worldwide
President
Marco Impagliazzo
Parent organization
Catholic Church
Volunteers
50,000 (estimate)
Websitesantegidio.org
Sant'Egidio
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome, seat of the Community

History

In 1968, just after the Second Vatican Council, Andrea Riccardi while still a teenager drew together a group of students at Virgil High School in Rome,[3][4] and founded the Christian community of the Acts of the Apostles and Francis of Assisi. The students took to teaching poor children who lived in shacks in the Roman periphery. Then the Popular School was formed, now called the School of Peace and present in many countries of the world.[5][6]

In 1973 the group acquired its present headquarters at the former Carmelite convent and church of Sant'Egidio (Italian for Saint Giles) in Trastevere in Rome. From 1977 the Community of Sant'Egidio expanded to other Italian cities and in the 1980s it spread to Europe, Africa, America, and Asia. On May 18, 1986, the Pontifical Council for the Laity named the Community of Sant'Egidio as "an international association of the faithful of pontifical right".[1]

In the Community of the nineties, the Country of the Rainbow was born, a movement for children and young people to learn respect for others and for nature. It can lead to lifetime commitment in the Community.[7] Also, the 1989 murder of a South African refugee was the stimulus for the People of Peace initiative directed primarily toward migrants but including the poor and elderly in some of its programs.[8]

Governance

Riccardi
Andrea Riccardi, founder

The Community has no initiation ceremony or clear definition of membership. There are no salaried positions for San'Egidio officers and all have outside jobs. Groups are held together by shared evening prayer and commitment to serve the poor.[9][10] The number of those belonging to Sant'Egidio can only be estimated. The Pontifical Council for the Laity in its Compendium of International Movements estimated a membership of 50,000 in 2006.[1]

Every four years, an election council consisting of about 40 representatives elects the president and a council as a guiding organ. In 2003 Marco Impagliazzo was named president of the Community,[11] and remained in office through 2019. There is also a spiritual general assistant.

  • World President: in charge of all the communities of Sant'Egidio worldwide (Rome, Italy).
  • National President: responsible for all the communities in a country;
  • President of the community (centers): head of the community building, responsible for organizing charity events, activities, solidarity programs;
  • Volunteers: people who join in tor evening prayer leading to befriending and helping the poor.and needy.

The National President and the Council of Presidency are elected every five years by the General Assembly of representatives of all nuclei of communities (if there are several communities in a country).[12]

Activities

Prayer

The basis of its communal life is common evening prayer, which is open and may take place in a central church.[13][14] At every service a Bible passage is interpreted[15] as a stimulus for closer following of Jesus through forming friendships with the poor[16] and working for peace among all peoples.[17][10] The Community's effectiveness in working with people has been attributed to its "spirit of compromise and encounter", which has been compared to that of Pope Francis who has raised its profile during his pontificate.[18] Francis, during a visit to the community in Rome on June 14, 2014, characterized the Community of Sant'Egidio with three Ps: preghiera, poveri, pace (prayer, poor, peace).[19] On the occasion of its 50th anniversary celebrations Francis again visited the community and remarked that it was a daughter of the Second Vatican Council, with its impulse to community life and to being The People of God. He also commended the community for its audacious love:

Audaciousness is not the courage of a day, it is the patience of a daily mission in the city and in the world, a mission to patiently weave together again the human fabric of the peripheries that violence and impoverishment have torn apart; a mission to communicate the Gospel through personal friendship; to show how life truly becomes human when it is lived beside the poor; a mission to create a society that considers no one a foreigner. It is the mission to cross borders and walls, to join together.[20]

The Community, then, consists of small groups whose prayer together leads them outward to the poor and needy with whom they cultivate Christlike friendships.[10] "Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey commented that the Community of Sant’Egidio is what we want the modern church to be."[21]

Social commitment

Social commitment, especially through personal relationships, is what the Community of Sant'Egidio calls "friendship with the poor".[22] Riccardi has described this friendship as so close that "I can't say that there is really a radical difference between members and non-members."[23] Sant'Egidio has been described as a realization of Pope Francis' dream for the church to be "a field hospital" with Catholics "like shepherds living with the smell of their sheep".[24] This includes the following.

Children and adolescents

In Schools of Peace values of humanity, peace, and coexistence on the basis of the Christian faith are taught along with to school promotion (e.g. homework support), common games, and excursions.[25][26] Country of the Rainbow educates children to solidarity with all peoples and with nature. By 2019 it had grown to include about 10,000 children and young adults worldwide.[7]

The elderly

Long Live the Elderly is an outreach program to the elderly, in response to their isolation.[23] The priority objective is prevention, fighting the negative effects of critical events (like heat waves, flu epidemics, falls, loss of cohabitant).[27][28] Members of the Community establish long-term relationships with the lonely poor in rest homes, and find that "prayer and friendship with the poor is a beautiful way to live God’s love and mercy in our daily life.”[29]

The homeless and needy

Community members serve meals to the poor.[30][31] Worship and commemoration events are designed to strengthen ties to people suffering from homelessness and poverty.[32] The Vatican may go to the Community when requests for food are made, as by North Korea.[33]

The community in Rome prints a 253-page handbook titled Where to Eat, Sleep, and Wash in Rome as a gift for the homeless.[34] The book lists places where service is offered for the estimated 7,500 people living on the streets or in makeshift shacks of Rome, including everything from 47 overnight shelters to the 11 language schools for migrants run by Sabnt'Egidio itself.[35] Another of its works is with about 140,000 gypsies in Italy, as publicized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.[36][37]

Refugees and new citizens

The Language and Culture School offers free language courses and an introduction to the culture of the host country in various European countries.[38] Refugees and new citizens launched the People of Peace movement in 1999 in various European countries with the aim of promoting integration, encounter of cultures and religions, exchange, and peace work in the respective countries.[39] In 2016, in collaboration with the Italian Protestant churches, an agreement was signed with the Italian Government to set up the Humanitarian corridors project,[16] whereby refugees from camps in Lebanon, Morocco, and Ethiopia can safely travel to Europe with humanitarian visas and avoid the dangerous trips across the sea.[40][20]

People with disabilities

This offers spiritual exchange, religious education, and leisure activities for adults with disabilities, and reaches out to lepers.[41] The Friends movement is a Community-sponsored restaurant that supports the DREAM program for AIDS sufferers in Africa by selling disabled peoples' paintings from the Community's own workshop.[42][43]

Peace work

Sant'Egidio has been involved in numerous successful peace negotiations as a facilitator or observer: Albania (1987, elections), Mozambique (1989-1992, peace treaty), Algeria (1995, unify political groups),[44] Guatemala (1996, mediate civil war), Kosovo (1996-1998, negotiate with Serbia), Congo (1999, national dialogue), Burundi (1997-2000, peace treaty).[45] The Community's most significant diplomatic achievement was the mediation of the Peace Agreement for Mozambique on October 4, 1992, which ended a sixteen-year civil war.[4][46][47][48] The Washington Post has described Sant'Egidio as "one of the most influential conflict resolution groups in the world,"[49] and this is borne out by the accolades it has received from a wide range of leaders.[9]

In 2014 Sant'Egidio collaborated with the Islamic association Muhammadiyah of Indonesia to bring an end to a 40-year conflict in the Mindanao region of the Philippines.[50][51] Troubled areas where it was involved in 2017 included Central African Republic,[52] Senegal,[53] South Sudan,[54] and Libya.[55] In June of that year the UN Department of Political Affairs formally opened a channel of communication with Sant'Egidio,[56] as have individual countries.[57]

Members of the Community of Sant'Egidio have been organizing annual International Peace Meetings[58] since their first at Assisi in 1986:[59] Barcelona in 2010,[9] Munich in 2011,[60] Sarajevo in 2012,[61] Rome in 2013, Antwerp in 2014,[62] Tirana in 2015, and Assisi again in 2016, on the 30th anniversary of the first meeting.[63] In 2017 the meeting took place in Münster and Osnabrück, with the participation of Chancellor Angela Merkel.[64] There is a strong element of ecumenism and dialogue at these "annual meetings ... [that] bring together Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Christians of all faiths, humanists, non-believers."[65][66][67]

Sant'Egidio has generated Youth for Peace groups, with some communicating through postings on websites.[68][69] Members of the adult Peace People group support reception centers for foreigners and also reach out to the poor and elderly.[70]

DREAM program

Sant'Egidio is "among global leaders on HIV/AIDS."[71] Its program DREAM (Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition) is one of the most studied approaches to HIV / AIDs treatment in the world. with a reported 100 or so papers on the program. Many of these are peer-reviewed studies that attest to its efficacy.[72]

DREAM takes a holistic approach, combining highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with the treatment of malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria, and sexually transmitted diseases, while emphasizing health education at all levels.[73] The program was initiated in Mozambique in March 2002 and has spread to Angola, Cameroon, Congo DRC, Kenya, Malawi,[74] Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Guinea and Swaziland; it works through dispersed health centers.[75] Funding has come from various international organizations including the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[76] In 2004 Sant'Egidio received the Balzan Prize for humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples, "and in particular for the realization of its DREAM program to fight AIDS and malnutrition that is taking place in Mozambique, a concrete model for others African countries in difficulty."[77]

Action to abolish the death penalty

Since 1998, the Community has been campaigning for a worldwide moratorium on the capital punishment. An appeal that was signed by more than 5 million people worldwide in 2007, in collaboration with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), helped the United Nations General Assembly to pass by a large majority on December 18, 2007, a resolution which calls for a moratorium worldwide.[78][79] Mario Marazziti, a member of the Community and of the lower house of parliament in Italy, head of its Human Rights Committee,[15] published an English-language book entitled 13 Ways of Looking at the Death Penalty.[80]

Every year since 2002, the Community of Sant'Egidio organizes the Global Day of Action Cities for Life / Cities Against the Death Penalty on 30th November, inviting cities around the world to take part in the Cities for Life Day.[81][82][83] It also shows its commitment against the death penalty by furnishing pen pals for many death-row convicts and by collecting signatures for a moratorium on executions.[84]

Criticism

In 2003 the Italian journalist Sandro Magister wrote that working groups within Sant'Egidio, along with the poor, can displace the birth family for some Community members (Mt 10:35). He also printed a former member's memoir of having to defend one's behavior or beliefs before executive members.[85]

Awards

The Community of Sant'Egidio and its leaders have received numerous honors. These include:

See also

References

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  4. ^ a b Gastrow, Peter (1995). Bargaining for Peace: South Africa and the National Peace Accord. US Institute of Peace Press. ISBN 9781878379399.
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  7. ^ a b "Country of the Rainbow". Sant'Egidio. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
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Bibliography

Books

External links

Andrea Riccardi

Andrea Riccardi (born 16 January 1950 in Rome) is an Italian historian, professor, politician and activist, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio. Since November 16, 2011, he has served as Minister for International Cooperation without portfolio in the Monti Cabinet.

Armenian Rite

The Armenian Rite is an independent liturgy used by both the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic Churches. It is also the rite used by a significant number of Eastern Catholic Christians in Georgia.

Cities for Life Day

Cities for Life Day is a worldwide festivity that supports the abolition of the death penalty. It is celebrated on November 30 of each year.

Death of Cristina and Violetta Djeordsevic

Cristina and Violetta Djeordsevic or Ebrehmovich were Italian Roma sisters aged 13 and 11 who drowned in the sea at the public beach at Torregaveta in the Metropolitan City of Naples on 19 July 2008. News media circulated photographs of other beach users apparently continuing with their leisure activities indifferent to the nearby bodies of the girls partially covered by beach towels. Commentators interpreted this as symbolising widespread anti-Roma sentiment in Italy.

Dicastery

A dicastery (from Greek δικαστήριον, law-court, from δικαστής, judge/juror) is a department of the Roman Curia, the administration of the Holy See through which the pope directs the Roman Catholic Church. The most recent comprehensive constitution of the church, Pastor bonus (1988), includes this definition:

By the word "dicasteries" are understood the Secretariat of State, Congregations, Tribunals, Councils and Offices, namely, the Apostolic Camera, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

Drug Resource Enhancement against Aids and Malnutrition

DREAM (short for "Drug Resources Enhancement against Aids and Malnutrition", formerly "Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS in Mozambique") is an AIDS therapy program promoted by the Christian Community of Sant'Egidio. The Community of Sant'Egidio, based in Rome, was formerly involved in the peace talks in Mozambique, facilitating the eleven rounds of negotiations in Rome that helped to end the Mozambican Civil War. The Community has worked closely with both the Mozambican Ministry of Health and the United States' PEPFAR in order to implement the DREAM program. The DREAM program is designed to give access to free ARV treatment with generic HAART drugs to the poor in Africa on a large scale: So far, 5,000 people are receiving ARV treatment, especially in Mozambique, but the program is being built up also in other countries, including Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Swaziland and Tanzania. Despite being free, the program aims at excellence in treatment, providing the best existent range of drugs (HAART) and regular blood testing according to European standards. It is linked with a nutrition program as well as guidance and sanitary education by volunteers (other HIV patients taking part in the program), which encourages new patients to comply and come to the appointments. The compliance rate is very high (94 percent). The annual cost per person and year of the program is $800.

Mario Giro

Mario Giro (born 1958, in Rome) is an Italian trade-unionist, and since 1990 a mediator for peace in the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Mario Marazziti

Mario Marazziti (born 24 April 1952 in Rome) is an Italian journalist, executive, and politician. Currently a deputy in the Italian parliament, he is also an executive at RAI, an opinion writer at Corriere della Sera, and a representative of the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Order of the Most Holy Annunciation

The Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (Latin: Ordo SS. Annuntiationis), also known as the Turchine or Blue Nuns, is a Roman Catholic religious order of contemplative nuns formed in honour of the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ at Genoa, in Italy, by the Blessed Maria Vittoria De Fornari Strata.

Pope Clement VIII approved the religious order on 5 August 1604, placing it under the Rule of Saint Augustine.

At present, the order has monasteries in Brazil, France, Italy, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, and Spain.

Rite of Braga

The Rite of Braga (or Bragan Rite) is a Catholic liturgical rite associated with the Archdiocese of Braga in Portugal.

Rome General Peace Accords

The Rome General Peace Accords (Português): Acordo Geral de Paz (General Peace Accord)) between the Mozambican Civil War parties, the FRELIMO (government) and the RENAMO (rebels), put an end to the Mozambique Civil War. It was signed on October 4, 1992. Negotiations preceding in began in July 1990. They were brokered by a team of four mediators, two members of the Community of Sant'Egidio, Andrea Riccardi and Matteo Zuppi, as well as Bishop Jaime Gonçalves and Italian government representative Mario Raffaelli. The delegation of the Frelimo was headed by Armando Guebuza (who went on to become President of Mozambique), the delegation of the Renamo was headed by Raul Domingos. The accords were then signed by the then president of Mozambique, Frelimo leader Joaquim Chissano and by the leader of the Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama.

Renamo declared on 21 October 2013 that they were annulling the peace accord as a result of a government attack on their base

Sant'Egidio

Sant'Egidio may refer to:

St. Giles (640?–720?)

Community of Sant'Egidio, an international Christian lay community

Sant'Egidio, Rome (Trastevere), the church from which the community of Sant'Egidio takes its name

Sant'Egidio (Mantua), a church in Mantua, Italy

Sant'Egidio, Rome

Sant'Egidio is a convent church in Trastevere, Rome. Sant'Egidio (St. Giles) is the patron saint of hermits.

The church was founded in 1630 and was abandoned by the nuns in 1971. In 1973, it was occupied by the Community of Sant'Egidio, which had been founded in 1968, and was still looking for a meeting place of its own. The community, which had not had a name before, then chose to name itself after its church.

Together with the adjacent former Carmelite monastery, the church forms the seat of the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Sant'Egidio platform

The Sant'Egidio Platform of January 13, 1995 was an attempt by most of the major Algerian opposition parties to create a framework for peace and plan to end to the Algerian Civil War. The escalating violence and extremism, which had been provoked by the military's cancellation of the legislative elections in 1991 that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), an Islamist party, were expected to win, compelled the major political parties to unite under the auspices of the Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome. The community had previously played an important role in the drafting of the Rome General Peace Accords in 1992 which ended the civil war in Mozambique. The presence of representatives from the FIS as well as the National Liberation Front (FLN) and Socialist Forces Front (FFS) at these negotiations was extremely significant; the three parties collectively accounted for 80 per cent of the votes in the 1991 election.At the end of the negotiation period, a joint statement released by the parties in which they rejected violence to achieve political goals and called for respect of human rights and democracy. The final version of the platform included demands for the reinstatement of democracy through the holding of new parliamentary elections and the repeal of the dissolution of the FIS, independent investigations of human rights abuses following the coup d'état, the withdrawal of the Algerian army from the political sphere, and a renwed commitment to the Constitution.The platform was meant to be a model of democratic governance and political reconciliation with the goal of restoring a national consensus and fostering an inclusive political culture in Algeria. The commitment by the FIS was significant as it revealed its commitment to the peaceful transition of political power, however at the time of signing fragmentation within the Islamists was already well entrenched, with both of its armed wings expressing dissatisfaction with the platform at the time of signing. The Islamic Salvation Army (AIS) called the platform as a diversion, while the increasingly radicalized Armed Islamic Group of Algeria (GIA) presented three ultimatums including punishment of secularist Algerian generals, the banning of the communist and atheist political parties and the liberation of important Islamist leaders, including Abdelhak Layada, from prison. Ultimately, the platform would never be implemented due to the lack of endorsement it received from the armed Islamists and categorical rejection by President Zeroul who denounced the platform as a threat to national sovereignty since it invited foreign intervention into the internal affairs of Algeria.

The platform was signed by:

Ali Yahiya, representing the Algerian Human Rights League (LADDH).

Abdelhamid Mehri, representing the National Liberation Front (FLN).

Hocine Aït Ahmed and Ahmed Djeddai, representing the Socialist Forces Front (FFS).

Rabah Kebir and Anwar Haddam, representing the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS).

Louisa Hanoune, representing the Workers Party (PT).

Ahmed Ben Bella and Khaled Bensmain, representing the Movement for Democracy in Algeria (MDA).

Abdallah Djaballah, representing the Islamic Renaissance Movement (al-Nahda) party.

Ahmed Ben Mouhammed, representing the Contemporary Muslim Algeria movement (JMC).The original text of the accords, in French, can be found here or here (with a list of participants).

Solidary Democracy

Solidary Democracy (Italian: Democrazia Solidale, DemoS, Demo.S or DeS) is a centre-left, Christian-democratic political party in Italy. The party's early leader, Lorenzo Dellai has described it as a "Christian-social" party.The party is led by Paolo Ciani. Several party members, including Ciani, hail from the Community of Sant'Egidio.

DemoS maintains solid relations with the Democratic Party and a number of minor parties/groups of the Christian left, notably including the Democratic Centre (with which DemoS formed a joint parliamentary group in the Chamber of Deputies in 2014–2018), the Christian Popular Union (active mainly in Sardinia) and the Union for Trentino (Dellai's long-time party in Trentino, of which he was President from 1999 to 2012, when he resigned in order to enter Italian politics).

Superior (hierarchy)

In a hierarchy or tree structure of any kind, a superior is an individual or position at a higher level in the hierarchy than another (a "subordinate" or "inferior"), and thus closer to the apex. In business, superiors are people who are supervisors and in the military, superiors are people who are higher in the chain of command (superior officer). Superiors are given, sometimes supreme, authority over others under their command. When an order is given, one must follow that order and obey it or punishment may be issued.

Toward the Third Republic

Toward the Third Republic (Verso la Terza Repubblica) was a political manifesto for a new centrist political party in Italy launched during a convention in Rome on 17 November 2012. It aimed at forming a political base for Prime Minister Mario Monti, who chose to enter the fray in late December.

The leading promoters of the manifesto included Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Carlo Calenda, Andrea Romano, Nicola Rossi, Irene Tinagli, Federico Vecchioni and their think tank Future Italy, Andrea Riccardi (founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio and minister of International Cooperation in Monti's government), Raffaele Bonanni (Italian Confederation of Workers' Trade Unions), Andrea Olivero (Christian Associations of Italian Workers), Carlo Costalli (Christian Movement of Workers), Lorenzo Dellai (Union for Trentino), Alessio Vianello, Enrico Zanetti and Maria Gomierato on behalf of Toward North, and the Sardinian Reformers.Most of these people and groups followed Monti in his political creature, Civic Choice, which was founded on 4 January 2013.

Vincenzo Paglia

Vincenzo Paglia (born 20 April 1945) is an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the St. John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family. He was President of the Pontifical Council for the Family from 2012 to 2016 and Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, from 2000 to 2012. He was a co-founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio in 1968.

He is also postulator for the cause of canonization of Blessed Óscar Romero (1917 – 1980), the assassinated Archbishop of San Salvador in El Salvador, and of Venerable Father Felix Varela (1788 – 1853), a Cuban-American priest who worked in Havana, New York City, and St. Augustine, Florida, in the nineteenth century.

With Monti for Italy

With Monti for Italy (Italian: Con Monti per l'Italia) was an electoral coalition of political parties in Italy, formed for the 2013 general election to support the outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti and his reform plans. Its platform was based on Monti's manifesto titled "Change Italy. Reform Europe."

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