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by 
Silvia Marangoni

 

 

THE “LONG LIVE THE ELDERLY” MOVEMENT
The Charter

Community of Sant'Egidio
Long Live the Elderly

The elderly are many and their numbers are growing in every part of the world. The life that lasts longer is a great sign of civilization. This change opens up a new challenge for all: that of valuing this longer life. Longevity is almost a miracle. This longer life is a gift from God and an achievement of our time. It is an extraordinary opportunity for a more human life together. The elderly can contribute in a decisive way, with their presence and their culture, to the humanization of all of society.

In the spirit of the Community of Sant'Egidio we have decided to begin a Movement to the service of peace and solidarity with the elderly playing the most important role. A movement of elderly, a movement of hearts to say: "Long Live the Elderly" in the interest of all.

Therefore, in this special historical moment which sees one Millennium ending and another beginning, the commandment: "honour your father and your mother" leads us to generously spend our lives in humanizing our world and commits us personally to:

1) Respect, and surround with affection and consideration all elderly people in whatever condition and whatever their creed and story.
2) Welcome the witness of the elderly with love, in gratitude for a faith that is passed from generation to generation.
3) Support the prayer of the elderly, a source of richness for all.
4) Follow the example of the most elderly who show that nobody can go it alone and that we all need friends.
5) To favour the commitment of the elderly for all, especially towards other elderly.
6) To build an alliance among all generations for the dignity of the person in all phases of life: life is never useless or worthless.
7) To be involved as much as possible in defending those who are elderly.
8) To work against the physical, cultural and social exclusion of the elderly, encouraging all forms of active participation. 
9) to fight against institutionalization and isolation of elderly who are sick, non-self-sufficient, or in economic difficulty, doing all that is possible to keep them in their own home and environment.
10) To remind all generations of the extraordinary value of peace and tolerance, a precious accomplishment of all those who have gone before us.

Castelgandolfo, October 18th 1998