The congress, which runs until Sunday, brings together some of the 24,000 secular oblates — lay people — who live the spirituality of St. Benedict and are affiliated with the 1,196 Benedictine monasteries in the world. Most of the oblates are found in Europe and the United States.
The congress, whose theme is “Communion with God — Communion with the World,” has attracted 300 delegates.
Being offered in Rome, “The congress,” the organizers said, “represents an opportunity […] to delve into the Christian roots of Europe, a documented historical reality, through the contribution of the monasteries to the humanistic, philosophical and scientific growth of the world.”
The congress will include a pilgrimage to the monastery of Monte Cassino, and a visit to Castel Gandolfo to meet with Benedict XVI.
Among those participating in the congress’s liturgical activities are Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and Archbishop Piero Marini, master of papal liturgical celebrations.