The representatives of 27 countries of the European Union, along with Croatia, met in Rome on Saturday, June 15, on the occasion of the Evangelium Vitae Day, to evaluate the “One of Us” campaign.
The Honorable Jaime Maypoir Oreja opened the General Assembly, immediately thanking the national coordinators of the “One of Us” European Coordination Office and all those who are “working” for the initiative. In particular, Oreja stressed how, through “One of Us” a historic enterprise is underway. “All Europeans are working in one direction with a clear common objective,” Oreja said. The cultural debate that is being carried out, he explained, is decisive for the future of Europe. The European parliamentarian invited all to intensify their work and to exceed the one million signatures requested. Intervening spontaneously also at the opening of the assembly was Miklos Soltesz, Hungarian Secretary of State for Social Affairs, the Family and Youth.
After welcoming all the participants, the Honorable Carlo Casini, the “father” of the initiative introduced Ana del Pino, the executive coordinator, who presented an evaluation of the initiative prepared by the European Office of Coordination for the representatives of the different countries. An articulated summer strategy was then proposed to gather signatures, as will be carried out, for instance, in the Shrines of Europe beginning this summer at Fatima, Medjugorje and Santiago de Compostela. Presented officially, moreover, was a promotional video, made in Spain, but translated into almost all the languages, which will shortly be available for all the countries.
A very exciting event was the work reported by several coordinators. The surprising and unexpected common denominator evidenced by all those intervening was the collaboration of the various faiths in the “One of Us” campaign. Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox are working together for the project in all the countries. And in several places contact was made with Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.
Two important forthcoming events were then presented. The first, on September 21 in Holland, where Michael van der Mast invites all to board Noah’s Ark or a reproduction of the natural greatness of the famous Ark that is found at Dordrecht, in Holland. It will be followed by a meeting in Blessed John Paul II’s native Krakow on October 14-17 for the last Generl Assembly after the end of the gathering of signatures.
Closing the General Assembly meeting was Father Piotr Mazurkiewicz of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who thanked the volunteers for their incredible work in the “cultural rebirth” of Europe and expressed his readiness to help the initiative. Gregor Puppinck, president of the Citizens Committee, who presented the initiative, gave a brief greeting. The Day was closed by Carlo Casini, who, after hearing the addresses of the European coordinators, assured that “the target one million signatures will be reached” and that “already something of great importance has been realized: a pro-life network.”
Yesterday morning, Sunday, June 16, the European delegations of “One of Us” took part in the Mass for Evangelium Vitae Day which was celebrated by Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square. They met there with Harley Davidson bikers, gathered in Rome for the 110th anniversary of the brand who — as the European Coordination Office reported – said at the end of the celebration that they were interested in the initiative and made contacts with various delegations.