Community of Sant'Egidio

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The church of Sant'Egidio in Rome, seat of the 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 on 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 rooted in the Catholic Church)
  • dialogue with members of other religions and non-believers.


Created as an NGO in 1968 it acts in more than 70 countries.

Today the Community has expanded greatly since its creator Andrea Riccardi created it in 1968 and now has more than 50,000 members.

History[edit]

The Community of Sant'Egidio was founded in Rome in 1968 by a group of Roman high-school students led by Andrea Riccardi in the wake of the Second Vatican Council under the papacy of Pope Paul VI. 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.

In 1973, Sant Egidio founded his first church in Trastevere (the first church in that community) and from that moment the community of Sant'Egidio grew all over the world with the strange custom of daily community prayer. From 1977-1978 began to expand between the different Italian cities and in the 80s began to spread across the different continents. On May 18, 1986, the council of the laity named the community of Sant'Egidio as "an international association of the faithful of pontifical right".

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.[1]

The charitable efforts of Sant'Egidio also led it to be a well-regarded mediator in 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.[2] 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. One of the members of the community spearheading the movement against the death penalty, Mario Marazziti, published an English-language book on the topic, 13 Ways of Looking at the Death Penalty.[3]

The president of the Community as of September  2012 is Marco Impagliazzo.

Governance[edit]

Being a large community there are several positions:

  • World President: Charge of all the communities of Saint Egidio of the world (Rome, Italy)
  • National President: Responsible for all the communities in your country
  • President of the community (centers): head of the community building, responsible for organizing charity events, activities, solidarity programs.
  • Volunteers: People who present themselves without receiving any salary just to help those in need.

The 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 that country).

Works[edit]

Map of the world of the community of Santo Edigio

Around the world there are many communities of San Egidio, each with their respective activities, but all united by religion, Although there are very different cultures in different parts of the world are dedicated to helping those in need especially to third world countries like (Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bolivia), however, also help countries that are not so poor but with major economic differences or to help refugees. It is active in:

  • Europe: 23 countries
  • Africa: 29 countries
  • Asia: 7 countries
  • N. America: 8 countries
  • S. America: 5 countries

The community of Sant'Egidio has helped a number of countries and made large collections of money for the poor, as well as creating soup kitchens, language schools for migrants, medical centers, or centers to provide help, centers for the disabled and countless charities . Although in countries with problems this NGO always helps them in what they can in giving them food and place to live. There are several Volunteer programs that are dedicated to accompanying those people who are alone or do not have anyone to go see them.

Community Santo Egidio in Cataluña[edit]

  • Works: Dining Hall Solidario: This work is celebrated on Christmas Day and is a celebration in which in the churches that are with this community, the benches of the masses are changed by tables and benches so that people who can not afford to eat Christmas food Can, also to reunite families that have not been seen in a long time or refugees just arrived in Barcelona.
  • Young people for peace: It is a volunteer of different ages (minimum 15 years) that is trying to go every Friday to grandparents' residences to visit the grandparents who have left them there and no one visits them, that is done to be Feel happy
  • Objectives:

Let the whole world have their point of view well on religion and its happiness even if they do not have many privileges.

Awards[edit]

The Community of Sant'Egidio has received numerous honors and recognitions.[4] These include:

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Marshall, Katherine. AIDS: From Judgment to Hope, Huffington Post, 12/6/11. Retrieved 12/6/11.
  2. ^ "Community of Sant'Egidio", Berkley Center, Georgetown University
  3. ^ Marazziti, Mario (2015). 13 Ways of Looking at the Death Penalty. New York: Seven Stories Press. 
  4. ^ Premi e riconoscimenti, santegidio.org (in Italian)
  5. ^ "Scaling the Middle Ground" Archived 2004-06-27 at the Wayback Machine. (DOC format), The Washington Post, March 6, 2004; Page B09 (copy hosted by sfcg.org)
  6. ^ Balzan award 2004 - International Balzan Foundation Archived 2006-05-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Sant'Egidio Founder Awarded as Peacemaker Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine.

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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

Books[edit]

External links[edit]