Celebrating the unity of the world

We are reporting live from the venue. All the participants related to the big and inter-religious Ignatian family have arrived. At the informal inaugural gathering in the evening of the 25th, Fr. Paolo Sergio Vaillant invited all the participants to gather at the Arrupe Hall and celebrate life. The hall was filled with the joy of friends meeting each other after one or more years. The programme began with a typical “samba” and all participants joined two or three concentric rings, with arms intertwined and feet moving slowly. Then the groups from various countries came to the centre and made a formal presentation, but with the sound of the samba always in the background. We observed one minute?s silence for the victims of the tsunami. With us were some from Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu who live in areas close to the disaster. Announcements were made and today we will all take part in a catholic ceremony at the Church of Pompei. The official inauguration of the Forum, late in the evening, will be preceded by a peace march and followed by a moment of silence for the victims of the tsunami and of human oppression. At Mass, before the inauguration, we celebrated the feast of St. Paul’s conversion. The celebrant remembered the words addressed to Paul: “go to Damascus and there you will be told everything?. It seemed as if, at this moment, for us the message might be: go to Porto Alegre and see what you are told, and change your life!