A Story of "Cities For Life"

A Story of Cities for Life

by Sue Prieshoff


There was a gathering of like minds at the St Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati on November 30, 2017.   The day was recognized around the world as International Day against the Death Penalty.  It originated in Italy in 1786, the first country to recognize the evil of killing people to show that killing people is wrong. 

I became aware of this date after writing a pen pal in prison here in Ohio. He was formerly on death row, but now awaits a new trial. We have been writing for over 20 years.  This inmate also had a pen pal in Italy through a pen pal international program.  Over the years, Francesco and I met through the inmates’s letters and we began emailing. Last year was the Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church.  Francesco felt the call by Pope Frances to come the the USA to meet his pen pal here in Ohio.

We wrote back and forth, and welcomed Francesco to come and stay at our house. It is always exciting to meet a pen pal who you have only written to and one from so far away.  While our guest was in town, I made contacts with like minded groups that I was involved with.  This is where Francesco made his pitch for Cincinnati to join with the “Cities for Life.”  Turns out he lived in Tuscany, where it all began with his group “the community of Sant’Egidio.”  It lit a spark.

It took a year to get it on the books and that is how we came to the event hosted at the Cathedral in Cincinnati.  Turns out, Cincinnati was one of only a few cities in the the USA to acknowledge the November date. Our Archdiocese Social Action Office and Intercommunity Justice and Peace office got the program together.  We were proud to be in good company with those of like mind around the world. One person can make a difference.  Try it!

'The Community of Sant'Egidio began in Rome following the Second Vatican Council. Today, it is a movement of lay people with more than 50,000 members dedicated to evangelisation and charity in Rome, Italy and in more than 70 countries throughout the world..The Community of Sant’Egidio seeks to communicate the Gospel and advocates solidarity with the poor, in the evangelical spirit of a Church that is the "Church for all and particularly the poor" (Pope John XXIII). The community promotes ecumenism and dialogue, recommended by Vatican II as a way of peace and co-operation among the religions, a way of life and a means of resolving conflicts.

To read more about World Coalition against the Death Penalty and Cities for Life please visit... http://www.worldcoalition.org/cities.html