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Missionaries to pray and fast as G8 leaders meet

Catholic missionaries are preparing to take a stand at this month's G8 summit in Genoa, Italy.

On 20-21 July, at the church of Sant' Antonio at Boccadasse, Genoa, priests, religious and laity belonging to 250 missionary congregations and associations from all over the world will come together to pray and fast for peace, justice and solidarity.

"We live among the poor in the South of the world and we see how international debt and structural adjustments of the World Monetary Fund dehumanise and starve the people among whom we work" the organising committee statement affirmed.

"Day after day we see men, women and children exploited, abused. Responding to the call from Pope John Paul II, we intend to be actively involved: we urge the G8 leaders to decide for total cancellation of the international debts of these impoverished countries".

During his Angelus prayer on Sunday, the Pope again pressed the leaders of the G8 to ensure that the goal of present process of globalisation is the common good of all the citizens of the world on the basis of the principles of justice and solidarity that cannot be renounced.

"For this - he said - the countries which are richer and more technically developed must hear the cry of the world's many poor peoples: all they ask for are simply their sacred rights".

Italian Sister Patrizia Pasini, head of the Justice and Peace office of the Consolata Missionary Sisters, is one of the organisers of the Prayer and Fasting event. She has spent most of her life among the disinherited in Kenya.

Speaking to Fides, she said: "Our prayer will be international. Missionary Congregations everywhere identify with this non violent, typically Christian form of protest. The massive response we are receiving, also from non Catholics, is a challenge to have more courage. It makes us reflect on the presence of values in the civil society and appreciate tools like fasting used by great men such as Gandhi to fight their just wars".