Through association with university students in the 1960’s, we discovered the existence of “foreigners”. They brought us cultures and religions faiths which were different from our own. We began to talk. We opened a meeting place, named il centro ecunemico S. Martino in Verzaro street (Via del Verzaro) and scheduled regular meetings for every Monday afternoon or evening. This program continues today. It serves as a contact point and is used even by the Dioceses to discuss ecumenical and religious initiatives. The centre regularly provides a forum for “biblical literature”, ecumenical updates, conferences, workshops, and debates. 

The bishops who followed have always supported and encouraged this initiative. In the seventies (1974), the presence of foreigners in the city changed noticeably, so the need for social interaction increased. It was the students involved in ecumenical work who stressed the need for improved assistance and welcome. This request gave birth to the Centro di acoglienza per la Gioventu di Via Bontempi. We made a request to Ferdiando Lambruschini, the bishop of the time, he granted us a meeting place. He provided us with a large building in the Historic centre, owned by the Opera Pia Marianna Paoletti, at no cost. Through ceaseless work, it became possible to offer a welcome to young people from all nations and social classes; students, tourists, immigrants and minority groups, who interacted well, often happily and only occasionally with difficulty. The aim of growing together in understanding and agreement, by means of shared accommodation and dialogue and dialogue, was always apparent. We believe that both initiatives, born of decades of experience, respond to an ecumenical vocation. The first: in a truly specific sense. The second: in a more ecumenical way behind, which is a desire to bring down the walls of incomprehension and prejudice. We also publish a quarterly magazine, entitled “Una citta per il dialogo” born of a simple circulated leaflet, aims to recount some of what we think and do for those we have grown to know first-hand, friends acquaintances, benefactors, and all those interested in ideas of unified Christians, knowledge, understanding, communication, mutual respect amongst religions and peace amongst men.