Community of Sant'Egidio
The Community of Sant'Egidio (Italian: Comunità di Sant'Egidio) is a Christian community that is officially recognized by the Catholic Church as a "Church public lay association". It claims 50,000 members in more than 70 countries. Its main activities are:
- Prayer, centered around a reading of the Bible
- Spreading the Gospel to help people who are looking for a sense to their life.
- Service to the poor, which is free and unpaid
- Commitment to ecumenism (the Community of Sant'Egidio is also ecumenical, though being rooted in the Catholic Church)
- Dialogue with members of other religions and non-believers.
The Community of Sant'Egidio was founded in Rome in 1968 by a group of Roman high school students led by Andrea Riccardi. It is named after the Roman Church of Sant'Egidio (Italian for Saint Giles) in Trastevere, its first permanent meeting place. Since 1968, the community has gathered each night to pray and read from the Bible, reflecting on the Gospel, eventually spreading throughout the world with a mission of helping those in need. Their activities include setting up refuges for the old, hospices for AIDS patients, and printing a handbook titled "Where to Eat, Sleep, and Wash in Rome" as gifts to the homeless. The lay Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio is among global leaders on HIV/AIDS, running programs across Africa, pushing scientific research inter alia on mother child transmission, and advocating passionately that everyone deserves the best care.
The charitable efforts of Sant'Egidio also led it to be a well-regarded mediator of peace negotiations. In the late 1980s, the Community came to the realization that their humanitarian efforts in Mozambique, then torn by the Mozambican Civil War, could not succeed without peace. In 1990, the Community was accepted by the ruling FRELIMO and rebel Mozambican National Resistance as a mediator, playing a key role in the Rome General Peace Accords signed in 1992. They continue peace initiatives in Algeria (notably the 1995 Sant'Egidio Platform), the Balkans, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other areas, in the belief that war is the "mother of every poverty”.
The community of Sant'Egidio shows its commitment against the Death penalty by maintaining penpalships with many Death convicts, collecting signatures for a moratorium of executions and inviting cities around the world to take part in the Cities for Life Day.
Its current president, as of September 2012, is Marco Impagliazzo.
The Community of Sant'Egidio has received numerous honors and recognitions. These include:
- 1997: World Methodist Peace Award from the World Methodist Council
- 1999: Niwano Peace Prize from the Niwano Peace Foundation
- 1999: Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize from UNESCO
- 2000: Formal recognition from the New York City Council for commitment to human rights, in particular efforts to stop the death penalty
- 2002: Nominated by the Parliament of Italy for the Nobel Peace Prize
- 2004: International Peacemaking Award from Common Ground
- 2004: Balzan Prize for humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples.
- 2009: International Charlemagne Prize recognizing Andrea Riccardi, the Society's founder, as a "great European" whose life has been at the service of his neighbor.
Notes and references
- Marshall, Katherine. AIDS: From Judgment to Hope, Huffington Post, 12/6/11. Retrieved 12/6/11.
- Premi e riconoscimenti, santegidio.org (Italian)
- "Scaling the Middle Ground" (DOC format), The Washington Post, March 6, 2004; Page B09 (copy hosted by sfcg.org)
- Balzan award 2004 - International Balzan Foundation
- Sant'Egidio Founder Awarded as Peacemaker
- Pierre Anouilh, "Des pauvres a la paix. Aspects de l'action pacificatrice de Sant'Egidio au Mozambique", _ LFM. Sciences sociales et missions _, No.17, Dec. 2005, pp. 11–40
- Eric Morier-Genoud, "Sant’ Egidio et la paix. Interviews de Don Matteo Zuppi & Ricardo Cannelli", _ LFM. Sciences sociales et missions _, Oct 2003, pp. 119–145
- Sant 'Egidio, Rome and the World - by Andrea Riccardi, Peter Heinegg, ISBN 0-85439-559-8 / ISBN 978-0-85439-559-0, Saint Paul Publications
- The Sant'Egidio Book of Prayer - by Andrea Riccardi and the Community of Sant'Egidio, ISBN 1-59471-206-9 / ISBN 978-1-59471-206-7, Ave Maria Press
- Religious pluralism, globalization, and world politics by Thomas F. Banchoff.
- Bargaining for peace: South Africa and the National Peace Accord by Peter Gastrow.
- Millennium challenges for development and faith institutions by Katherine Marshall,Richard Marsh.
- The Community of Sant'Egidio homepage
- DREAM (Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and malnutrition) programm - The Community of Sant'Egidio
- Basilic of San Bartolomeo all'Isola Tiberina, Memorial of the New Martyrs
- No Justice Without Life, No to the death penalty, the Campaign run by the Community of Sant'Egidio
- BBC Profile: The Community of Sant'Egidio
- UNESCO Courier, "Sant'Egidio's Diplomacy of Friendship
- Time Magazine profile of Andrea Riccardi, 3 April 2008
- "Sant'Egidio at 40: Linking friendship and service in world-changing ways," National Catholic Reporter, 16 May 2008
- Austen Ivereigh, "Changing the World Via the Crucified: The Community of Sant'Egidio", 22 December 2005
- Oomoto participates in Sant’Egidio conference Dialogue among religions and cultures On divided island nation of Cyprus November 2008, taken from Oomoto Website
- Creating Peace In War Zones: The Roman Catholic Community Of Sant'Egidio, The Huffington Post, Oct. 16, 2010