The Walk for Peace, for inter-faith dialogue and prayer entitled “Dona nobis pacem” will take place in Milan on Thursday September 7. It will begin at 8 p.m. with two processions departing from two highly symbolic locations: Piazzale Segesta, near the Russian Consulate, and Via Ampezzo, near the Ukrainian Consulate. The two processions will then merge and end their walk at Maria Regina Pacis Church, where at 9 p.m. the Archbishop, Monsignor Mario Delpini, will preside over a prayer vigil.
Equally significant is the choice of the two testimonies that will be offered. These will be entrusted to Father Ambrogio Makar, Orthodox Archimandrite of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Father Igor Krupa, of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite. Not surprisingly, the walk, proposed by the Diocesan Coordination of Associations, Movements and Groups (which includes about twenty lay associations) and supported by the Diocese of Milan, will involve members of the various denominations affiliated to the Council of Christian Churches of Milan.
The three reasons for Communion and Liberation. Alberto Sportoletti, who represents Communion and Liberation in the coordination, said: “We were determined to hold this event for three reasons. The first is that
first of all, we want to send out an appeal for peace; secondly, we want to support the Church leadership today in the immense effort being made for peace.
The third reason, more specific to the Movement, is that on October 15, during the audience in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis asked us to accompany him in the prophecy of peace. We took this mandate seriously and promoted numerous initiatives worldwide. We attach great importance to the Walk on September 7, as a prayerful gesture.”
ACLI: “common concerns and priorities”. These words were echoed by Andrea Villa, Provincial President of the Christian Associations of Italian Workers (ACLI) in Milan, Monza and Brianza. “The coordination is an example of fraternity, of sincere dialogue centred on common priorities and concerns.
One of these is peace, which today is once again threatened by a global climate of growing divisions and friction between world nations,
while the international community shows limited commitment to the preservation of peace. That is why we have decided to support the initiatives proposed by Archbishop Delpini and the diplomatic initiative promoted by the Church and the Pope,” Villa continued, noting that “the ACLI has been involved in peace-building efforts since the 1990s.”
Sant’Egidio: negotiation and hospitality. “The Community of Sant’Egidio was also present, both as a member of the diocesan Coordination and because of its long-standing commitment to peace-building”, notes Giorgio Del Zanna. “We hope that this initiative will keep up the momentum for reconciliation. The terrible invasion of Ukraine has been a source of concern for us for months, but
there is a danger of taking it for granted that all this will drag on for a very long time.
On the contrary, we believe that there is a need for concerted negotiations to put an end to these tragic circumstances. As representatives of the Community of Sant’Egidio, we give particular attention to the theme of hospitality, because it is also through this effort that peace will be achieved.”
Catholic Action: “Sharing peace with the entire city.” “In our Europe, which should be a land of peace, solidarity and development, the winds of war are once again blowing. Violence, death, destruction… We must not get used to violence and oppression. That is why, in our capacity as Catholic Action of Milan, we are among the promoters of the Walk for Peace, along with the other organisations and lay movements of the Church in Milan,” says Gianni Borsa, diocesan president of Catholic Action (CA).
“At the same time, we want to remember all the conflicts that have erupted in the everyday lives of people today.”
“We believe that building peace requires everyone’s commitment: politically, by demanding a diplomatic solution to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, but also personally, in our daily lives. “We believe that it’s fundamental to pray and to do so together for a peaceful coexistence for the benefit of all, starting with the most disadvantaged.” Finally, the President concluded: “As a coordination of associations and movements, we value the fact that the initiative will take place in the streets of the neighbourhood: we want to share our desire for peace with the entire city and diocese.”