Sant’Egidio Communities Bring Friendship and Hope to the Poor
The Community of Sant’Egidio is an international movement counting over 60,000 individuals on five continents who gather for common prayer, offering friendship and support for and with the poor in the cities where they live. The movement began in Rome in 1968 at the Church of Sant’Egidio and has expanded from there. No one is considered too poor or too marginalized to be a member of the community. All join together in work and prayer to bring the light of hope into the world.
Daily prayer is at the heart of life in a Community of Sant’Egidio. Gathering together in the evening the Word is proclaimed and together members of the community place the cares and concerns of the people of their local, regional, national, and international communities before the Lord. Each day’s prayer also includes a theme, beginning with the celebration of the Resurrection on Sunday and continuing through days dedicated to prayer for the poor, Eastern and Western churches, Sant’Egidio communities around the world, the memory of the cross, meditation on the courageous role of Mary in salvation history, and waiting for the resurrection along with Lazarus who was raised from the tomb.
Icons are present in all communities, reminding all of the unity of Eastern and Western churches and leading members more deeply into the mysteries of God’s presence and action in the world.
A statement from the community’s website clearly expresses the place of prayer: “Nothing is possible without prayer, all is possible with prayer and faith. … Prayer overcomes the helplessness of men. It goes beyond what is believed impossible and allows God to intervene in this world with his infinite power.”
Members of Communities of Sant’Egidio are committed to inter-religious dialog and working for peace. At a general audience with bishops gathered for an international conference of the Community of Sant’Egidio on February 7, Pope Francis expressed his support, saying, “I am delighted to welcome you. I wish that you revive faith in the Lord and witness, with renewed enthusiasm, the Gospel tension towards the peripheries and towards the last.”