“They build bridges in Europe with steps of reconciliation and weaving friendship across borders. The result is a current of hope inspired by the Gospel …”
This is the motivation of the European Prize of St. Ulrich, awarded to the Steering Committee of Together for Europe on 3rd May in Dillingen, an historic city in Bavaria (Germany). On hearing it, a long applause praised the culture of Communion.
The presentation was made to seven members of the Committee. Some of those who were there from the very beginning were also present1 . It took place before an audience of about 600 people.
The winners and representatives of 50 movements and communities were welcomed by civil and religious authorities in the square: Mayor Kunz, the Catholic Bishop of Augsburg, Zdarsa, and the regional Evangelical Bishop Grabow. A youth music group gave the welcome and the ceremony included songs and music of a very high standard.
For the first time the award ceremony took place in the Basilica during an ecumenical service.
It was the tenth occasion; previous winners include: Lec Walesa, Helmuth Kohl, Andrea Riccardi and other prominent names. In the presence of personalities from politics, economy, culture and the public life of the region, the laudation was given by the Brazilian Card. Joao Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, who came from Rome: “I note with gratitude the ecumenical witness of the journey of Together for Europe. It always opens new places where you can meet fraternally, generating mutual love between the Churches and thus opening up new approaches to what still divides us.”
The President of the Foundation, Landrat Leo Schrell said: “The impressive variety of movements involved makes it clear that the intuition of Together for Europe is supported by people from different churches and different backgrounds who have one purpose: to contribute to the unity of the Europe”.
According to Schrell this way “is capable of indicating a path for the future.”
See also the website of the administrative district: Photogallery and Downloads
Gerhard Pross expressed the gratitude of the Steering Committee and said: “European unity and spiritual unity are alive in the Christian movements: it could be a model for the European Union as a home for the one Church of Christ.” He pointed out that the ten thousand euro Prize would be used for young people and movements of Eastern Europe, for their journey in the programme of Together.
He also expressed gratitude to the pioneers of the Together for Europe, in particular Chiara Lubich and Helmut Nicklas .
After the group photo on the steps of the ‘Home of the city’, the event ended with signatures in the guestbook and cordial and well-prepared refreshments. The media were updated through interviews given to regional newspapers, radio and TV.
Various publications underlined the commitment to safeguarding and promoting the treasure of the Christian heritage in Europe, as St. Ulrich expressed.
The Steering Committee. On 2nd May, the Steering Committee met in the Ecumenical Centre of Ottmaring in view of upcoming events. The year 2016 is a focal point with the idea of organizing a conference, followed by a rally in a city in Germany between April and June 2016 (date to be determined). This event is of importance in view of 2017, the year that marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in Germany. Several cities have given proposals and ideas for initiatives, which were considered carefully. There was an atmosphere of collaboration and joy which led to a unanimous consensus to start the preparations.
Gabri Fallacara and Severin Schmid
1 Friedrich Aschoff, an evangelical from Renewal of the Spirit, Fr. Michael Marmann, a Catholic from Schönstatt and Sr.Anna-Maria aus der Wiesche, Prioress of the Evangelical Community of Christ in Selbitz.