Pope, Sant’Egidio Ready Interreligious Summit

John Paul II’s “Spirit of Assisi” Continues

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 31, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Members of the Sant’Egidio Community planning an interreligious meeting in Auschwitz in the “spirit of Assisi” met with Benedict XVI today to discuss plans.

The Sept. 6-8 meeting in Krakow and Auschwitz is a continuation of the first interreligious and intercultural meeting called in 1986 in Assisi by Pope John Paul II.

The event, encouraged by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, is titled “The Spirit of Assisi in Krakow” and will particularly focus on the topic of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.

Among the participants will be the chief rabbi of Israel, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the president of the Council of European Churches, and a representative of the Orthodox Church of Russia.

Also invited are the heads of state of Costa Rica, Cyprus, Albania, East Timor, Poland and Uganda.

The program will close with a pilgrimage to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, as a “sign of reconciliation and peace to manifest a radical rejection of violence and war as instruments for the solution of international conflicts,” organizers explained.

In addition to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, the Pope also spoke with the meeting organizers about Africa, and particulary Sant’Egidio’s contribution to the fight against AIDS.

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