16 April 2016
Christopher Lamb in Rome
Sant’Egidio's charitable works reflects vision of Pope Francis
The community works to end death penalty and is known to have links with Italian politics
The Community of Sant’Egidio was founded in Rome in 1968 by a group of students who had a desire to serve the neediest in society.
Named after Rome’s Church of Sant’Egidio - the group’s first meeting place - the movement moved into working in conflict resolution and played an influential role in ending Mozambique’s civil war in the early 1990s. More recently they helped broker a peace in Bangui, the Central African Republic ahead of Pope Francis’ visit there.
Passionate about ending the death penalty, they have links to Italian politics with their founder Andrea Riccardi, serving as a minister in Mario Monti’s government
Sant’Egidio reflects Francis’ vision of the Church and the Pope is known to be supportive of their work: he recently named a priest close to the community Matteo Zuppi as the Archbishop of Bologno, an archdiocese that normally comes with a cardinal’s red hat.
Along with peace and dialogue, the community are renowned for their practical charitable works. They run a restaurant in Rome which employs waiters with special educational needs and on Christmas day they clear the pews of one of the Eternal City’s best-known churches, Santa Maria in Trastevere, to give lunch to the homeless.
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