Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the Catholic lay association Sant’Egidio, was today awarded the Moshe Rosen Award by the Conference of European Rabbis.
The award recognizes the efforts of “non-Jews who promote dialogue, understanding and tolerance to ensure a Jewish future in Europe,” reported the Associated Press.
Founded in 1968, the Community of Sant’Egidio is a network of over 50,000 members working in 73 countries to serve the needy, including the poor, the elderly, immigrants, drug addicts and the mentally handicapped. In 1986 it was recognized by the Vatican as an international association of the faithful.
Under Riccardi’s leadership, the association has also been an outspoken advocate of Jewish/Catholic dialogue.
Riccardi, according to a press release from Sant’Egido, was awarded the prize “for demonstrating a noble dedication in the promotion of coexistence between people of different cultures and religions and for promoting the development of inter-religious relations, especially the dialogue between the Catholic and Jewish communities through his work as founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio.”
In addition to facilitating better Jewish/Catholic relations as head of Sant’Egidio, Riccardo has sought to preserve the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and for the last 25 years has marched with the Jewish people of Rome on the anniversary of the Oct. 16, 1943 deportation of Roman Jews to the Nazi death camps.
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