In the rainy morning of New Year’s Day, the 51st World Day of Peace, some RSCJ in Rome joined the “Peace March - Peace in all the land.” Organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio, it is in support of the message of Pope Francis: “Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace."
Before we started the silent walk towards St. Peter’s Square, there were some short testimonies. While listening to Bako, an Iraqi refugee, share about how he escaped from the war to find peace in Rome through a long and dangerous journey, I was touched by his deep yearning for peace and by the joy of being welcomed. He spoke on how war destroys the hearts of humanity, and how peace is a deep aspiration of all. I imagined how many people in the countries, whose names were on the placards held by the participants, had the same deep yearning for peace.
In his speech, Marco Impagliazzo, the president of Community of Sant’Egidio, stressed that peace is to include everybody by welcoming them and integrating all, especially refugees and migrants. He repeatedly said that peace is to remember people’s long forgotten years in wars and to be friends with them.
Their testimonies spoke strongly to my heart, especially as we start the new year. These echo the message of Pope Francis, who calls us to collaborate generously in building a more human world through “a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating” migrants and refugees.
Yuka Arita rscj