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Pope in Sweden: Caritas Internationalis and LWF’s World Service to donate proceeds of Malmö Arena ticket sale to Syria

The proceeds of the ticket sale at Malmö Arena, Sweden, the venue for the public commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on 31 October, will go to support the people of Aleppo in Syria and the Syrian refugees in Jordan. This is the first act of concrete solidarity that comes from the cooperation of Caritas Internationalis and the World Service, the operating arm of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) that promotes solidarity programs across the world. The announcement was made today by Adriana Arrieta, from Caritas Internationalis, at a meeting sponsored by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, ahead of Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden. The joint Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will take place on 31 October. It will feature a celebration in Lund Cathedral (south of Sweden), followed by a public event at Malmö Arena under the motto “Together in Hope”. Malmö Arena has a capacity of 10,000, and tickets are sold at €10. Two projects were selected by Caritas and the World Service: the first body has chosen to finance an educational project aimed at children in Aleppo while the Lutherans will allocate the proceeds to an ongoing project with Syrian refugees in Jordan. During the public event, Caritas Internationalis secretary-general and his counterpart from the World Service will sign a Declaration of Intent that will pave the way for a closer cooperation between the two bodies in the future. Although there are already joint initiatives promoted by the two bodies at many levels, particularly locally, this Declaration formalises such cooperation.

After the welcoming address at Malmö Arena, the participants will have the chance to join live in the joint ecumenical prayer that will be held in the Lutheran Cathedral of Lund. After Pope Francis and the Lutheran leaders arrive at the Arena, a series of witnesses showing commitment to peace in various regions of the world will be presented under the motto chosen for the event “Together in Hope”. Speakers at the event will include Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao who will talk about the Colombian peace process; Burundian Marguerite Barankitse, now a refugee in Rwanda, who will talk about her commitment to peace between Tutsis and Hutus and her association providing assistance to children; Monsignor Antoine Audo, who will speak of his experience as bishop of Aleppo; Rose Lokonyen, a refugee from South Sudan, who was the Refugee Team’s flag bearer at the Rio Olympic Games; and Pranita Biswasi, an Indian environmental activist.

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