On 13th February 2018, we celebrated the 50 years anniversary of the Community of Sant’Egidio in Kensington. It was a great gift to be able to celebrate together in London: poor and rich, younger and older alike.
The thanksgiving prayer was led by Mons. Vincenzo Paglia, spiritual counsellor of the worldwide Community of Sant’Egidio, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the St. John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family.
The prayer was attended by members of the Community of Sant’Egidio in London, friends of Sant’Egidio, parishioners of the Carmelite church by which the Community is hosted, but also friends from “Our Cup of Tea” (the monthly dinner we organise for and with older people) and friends living in the streets. It was a celebration with more than 100 people.
Mons. Paglia stated how Sant’Egidio is like the good Samaritan, stopping to take care of the ill person he met in the street. He also prompted us that everyday we have a choice: we can care for others or we can decide not to care. Mons. Paglia also reminded us how caring for others is not a “duty” for Sant’Egidio: it is a gift, because it brings everyone happiness. Indeed, we experience there is more happiness in giving than in receiving.
What it means for London
As citizens of London, it is wonderful to be able to look at the city with eyes full of compassion. London would change and become more human if, as Mons. Paglia said, we change our hearts by listening to the Gospel and we open wide the doors to others.
London is full of lonely people: older people surely are lonely, yet younger generations are also feeling isolated. Sant’Egidio wants to tackle this by bringing people of different backgrounds together, and become a big family.
How you can get involved
There are many ways to get involved: you can have a look at what we are up to in London and how we befriend homeless and older people. Feel free to also go on our what’s on page, to see the latest gatherings of Sant’Egidio in London.
We have a common dream, shared amongst ourselves in London but especially shared with the other communities throughout the world. Together, we want to fight marginalisation, for a brighter and more peaceful future and we want to do this by thinking about others less fortunate than us and pray for the ones we are yet unable to reach.
In 50 years the Community has changed parts of the world: if you’d like to be part of realising this common dream in London, feel free to contact us.