An Alternative to the G-8 Summit Protests

300,000 People Will Fast in Show of Solidarity

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GENOA, Italy, JUNE 19, 2001 ( An estimated 300,000 people will take part in a fast as a sign of solidarity with the world´s poor, during next month´s G-8 summit here.

Fasting, prayer and «respectful and peaceful» dialogue are among the proposals offered by missionary groups for the July 18-21 meeting of leaders of the major industrialized nations and Russia.

This Mediterranean city is bracing for the violent protests threatened by activist groups known as the «People of Seattle.»

On Monday, missionaries and religious held a press conference to outline their own peaceful plans.

Sister Patricia Pasini, 60, a Consolata missionary, who spoke on behalf of a panel of religious and laity organizing a prayer march, proposed two days of fasting, July 20 and 21.

«It is an occasion for critical reflection on our lifestyle, as a gesture of solidarity endured together with the 800 million people who are obliged to suffer hunger,» the nun said.

An estimated 300,000 people worldwide will fast. The initiative was launched by religious congregations, especially missionary groups, and Catholic organizations involved in last year´s appeal for cancellation of foreign debt for Third World nations.

Sister Patricia said that the religious did not wish to join the Genoa Social Forum, established for the occasion, which includes environmentalist and political groups.

«We are not afraid of expressing ourselves, but we wish to do so as Christians in a prophetic way,» the missionary explained. «This is why we believe that the channels of cooperation and respectful dialogue must remain open.»

At the end of the Genoa summit, U.S. President George W. Bush might meet with John Paul II in Castel Gandolfo. The nun said she believes it will be an occasion to emphasize «the urgency of globalization with a human face, with the mark of solidarity, as [the Pope] has been reiterating for a long time.»

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