The vigil for Europe continues – 9 May in the Eternal City
It was on 24 March 2017 when, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, in the Roman Basilica of the Holy Apostles, packed with people, in the presence of significant ecclesiastical and civil representatives, all standing together at the beginning of the Prayer Vigil promoted by Together for Europe, we heard the quotation from the Preamble of the Treaty that adopted a Constitution for Europe. It was indeed an unforgettable moment, a strong reminder: ‘Europe, you must find yourself again, as a continent, as a civilisation, in Christianity’.
Dialogue and the conquest of peace
And Rome is faithful. Every year, around 9 May, Europe Day, Rome gathers Christians from various Churches, to pray, witness and keep on giving hope for the future of the Continent. This year Together for Europe focused on ‘Dialogue: a culture of encounter to conquer peace’. Those who took part were deeply convinced of the seriousness of the commitment: the Romanian and Greek Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Church, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, the Anglican Church, the Methodists, the Pentecostal Churches, the Salvation Army, various Movements and Communities, wanted to ‘sign’ with their presence the common, persevering and restless desire of all: PEACE.
Peace is the result of constant craftsmanship
“It is no coincidence that in 2013 the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize. Let us always remember this mandate that comes from history, but which must be transformed into political initiatives in favour of peace“. This was what Ambassador Pasquale Ferrara, current Director General for Political and Security Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, emphasised in his speech.
This was followed by some testimonies of reconciliation, reminding us how peace will always be the result of faithful and constant craftsmanship. At the same time, one has to look up at the entire globe to realise that “Peace as a policy,” Ferrara continued, “is not an abstractly ethical option; much more concretely, it is a practical necessity, if we do not want to reduce the world to ashes, be it through atomic war or climate change.”
Prayer and networks in the Christian world
The concluding ecumenical prayer saw a small people united in its rich diversity, turned towards the One who that very day in the Catholic liturgy repeated: “I leave you peace, my peace I give you”. (Jn 14:27)
The MEP David Sassoli participated in the event held on 24 March 2017. In an interview he emphasized: “First and foremost, Christians must make themselves heard a little more, and there must be networks in the Christian world that pass on the baton to others”.
We hope that our network can be a small, but vigorous, response to his words.
Edited by Ilona Toth
The event was sponsored by the European Commission Representation in Italy and was part of the initiatives of Insieme-per.eu (European Parliament Community).
Photo: Ala Laiba