The most interesting facts about the youth making this world more open and more sensitive to neighbours – the Community of Sant’Egidio.
The Community of Sant’Egidio began in Rome in 1968, at the initiative of a young man, who was then less than twenty, Andrea Riccardi. He started gathering a group of high-school students, like himself, to listen to and to put the main principles of the Gospel into practice. Today the community unites over forty thousand people.
Читай українською: МОЛИТВА, БІДНІ І МИР: ПРИКЛАД ЖИВОЇ ВІРИ У ВЧИНКАХ
In Ukraine the Community of Sant’Egidio functions in three cities – Kyiv, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankivsk. We will tell about the activities of the Community of Sant’Egidio in the city of Kyiv, the challenges and initiatives facing its members, on the basis of an exclusive talk Spirituality with Yuriy Lifanse, the head of the Community of Sant’Egidio in Kyiv.
The best definition of the community was given by Pope Francis during his visit to the community in Rome in 2014. He said: ‘I entrust you with taking care of prayer, the poor and peace’. That is the goal of the community it lives with in any country of the world – and the same goes about the communities in Kyiv, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankivsk.
Its members are Christians who do not just attend Sunday masses, but who keep building peace and life following the principles of the Gospel during weekdays.
Today the community is greatly supported by people willing to sacrifice a part of their lives to building a better society. These are people of different strata of the society, of different age, who actively participate in the Community’s activity. The main problem still is the war in the east of Ukraine and related propaganda.
Members of the community are people of different age. These are both senior people living in the senior homes, who pray with us and help us as they can.
Particularly important is the role of young people who now initiate a lot, and then bring those initiatives together with the Community into life. We don’t have any division by age – the role of senior and young people is equally important. The Community of Sant’Egidio is a family, with common life, goal and objectives – that’s why there is no hierarchy. We care the most about those who are weaker.
The Community of Sant’Egidio is an international Christian movement uniting Christians who belong to different Churches, but together implement some common tasks in their lives. Unfortunately, we live in the world where Christians are divided. We cannot receive the sacraments together on Sunday – each of us has to go to his/her Church, but we can read the Gospel together and serve the poor.
Today charity activities unite all Christians, regardless of their confession. The poor are good preachers of unity in this sense, the same as memory about martyrs, our land is rich in. In the moment of sufferings they showed us a real way to Christian unity – this is what we now see in a tough situation, in particular, on the frontline, where people help each other, without asking what Church the other attends. Division of Christianity remains a real pain for the community.
There are some stories showing that one can change the situation in very specific things. For instance, a story of our ten-year friendship with a woman with whom we got acquainted in the street when she got lost. We came home to her: that was an old lady who already could not live on her own, and we had somebody on duty there every day. This mission was performed not just by the Community members, but some family connections were identified, some contacts were established with neighbours, with doctors who assisted her. That somehow changed the atmosphere in the micro-area. Such cases show that together we could change a lot of stories, even if they appear to be doom and gloom today.
Contact data of the Community of Sant’Egidio:
Based on the interview conducted by Lidiya Batih
Prepared by Tetyana Trachuk