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July 22 2015 | PADUA, ITALY

Refugees and university students visit the centre of Padua and the Basilica of St. Anthony #solidaritysummers

 
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Young people from Nigeria, Mali and Pakistan hosted in some homes in the province of Padua, after a long journey in the hope of a future and a better life in Europe. I have been here for three months now, they started speaking Italian and especially enjoying friendship with the university students of the Community of Sant'Egidio since one of them, Victor, turned 22, a few days after his arrival here. Others were the celebrated birthdays and others their desires including to visit Padua, understand and get to know the city where they arrived.

So we organised a "trip" to the centre of Padua with a stop in Prato della Valle, the second largest square in Europe, where we could not miss the taste of one of the best ice creams in town.

Then to the "Saint", the Basilica of St. Anthony, a place of pilgrimage and devotion from all over the world. They all gathered in prayer and wrote their own personal intentions and entrusted then to St. Anthony, whose relics and his old monk's robe we had seen. Their prayer was moving especially if one considers that the first thing that the group of young Nigerians, Christians, asked was to bring them a rosary to pray. 

To explain to them the beauty of Padua also helps us to rediscover history and remember that St. Anthony, thanks to whom Padua is world famous, was also a foreigner!

A simple visit, a gesture of friendship that transmits culture and reminds us how to live together is really the key to a future of wealth for all!!
 

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