Flash news from several European Countries
Building on last year’s success, Together for Europe wished to repeat a popular mobilisation in Strasbourg: a procession of around 150 people marched peacefully through the city under the slogan: ‘Together for Europe – Objective Peace’. It started at the European Parliament and ended at a Protestant church in the city centre.
We proclaimed loudly that, as Christians, our priority yearning is peace, and that creative solutions must be found. The Together for Europe groups from Lyon and Landau (Germany) also participated.
Led in song by a group of young people from Taizé, the procession ended in Temple Neuf with an hour full of prayer, praise and conversion to peace; this was an ecumenical prayer promoted by the Council of Christian Churches in Strasbourg for reconciliation and the unity of Europe. There were about 400 people present, including representatives of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.
Astenet (Eupen) is known as the country of the three borders (Belgium, Holland, Germany). On 27 April, a delegation of Together for Europe – consisting of people from the Charismatic Renewal, Community of St Egidio and Focolare – went there to the shrine of St Catherine of Siena, patron saint of Europe, to mark her feast day.
After a fraternal meeting with the local Catharines, we participated in the Eucharist. At the end, we presented our ecumenical network and our initiatives for Europe Day. We experienced a fraternal, prayerful and joy-filled meeting. This opens new horizons for our network in Belgium.
For a number of years now, the city of Munich has been inviting people around 9 May to a ‘Europe Day’ to raise awareness of various issues concerning our Continent.
Together with some thirty organisations and associations that care about our Continent, for the second year running ‘Together for Europe’ was also present with a well-attended gazebo and a few ‘gondola’ rides in the big wheel, which offers a panoramic view of the city. One ride (10 people) lasted 25 minutes and offered the opportunity to talk about our network, initiatives and the ideals that move us.
As Christians from various Churches, we felt challenged to witness our commitment to a more fraternal Europe and, above all, to peace. We have already made an appointment for next year!
A prayer for peace in Europe was also held in Porto on 9 May; it was promoted by Together for Europe and the city’s Ecumenical Commission, in the Igreja de Cedofeita. Representatives of six Churches, the bishops of the Catholic and Lusitanian Churches, and various Movements were present. The prayer was centred on the phrases of the Lord’s Prayer; while the European countries for which they were praying were mentioned, the flags of these countries were carried to the altar.
The Novena, a nine-day prayer for peace in Europe, written this year especially for Europe Day, has also been translated into Portuguese (cf: Article on our website: The Lord’s Prayer – a prayer for Europe, 30.3.2023).
Many places in Europe prayed the Novena intensively; in Vallendar, at the Schönstatt International Centre, the entire community of that movement did so.
by Diego Goller