Dear Davide, I live in Cesena, one of the first cities hit by the floods. Right away, together with many friends whose homes had been left dry, we moved to help people in the affected areas. The feeling that dominated these days was one of emotion. Of finding so many young people shoveling mud, including many of my alumni: from GS students to scouts. In the darkness of a garage, knee-deep in water, I heard the cry, "My Italian teacher!" from someone I had not seen for 20 years and I wondered how he recognized me in those conditions. We were all there helping, and so it became really obvious, as the School of Community says, that the heart of man is the same, has the same need for truth, for justice, for goodness at all latitudes and in all walks of life.
When, together with a group of friends, I went to the family of an alumna, I saw their initial despair change into the strength of a smile and the desire to joke around at the end of the morning's work, and I don't think it was just because we had emptied the flooded basement.
As I carried two large bags of laundry to my car that was parked far away, and wondered how I was going to do it, I was approached by an unfamiliar girl in a veil, Salma, who offered to help me. On the way we talked a little about her, about her studies. Arriving at the car, we greeted each other and hugged as if we had known each other forever; in fact, this tragedy brought about a familiarity with everyone that was truly shocking.
Finally, after so much rain, the unexpected sunny day on Sunday and the beautiful faces of the hundred volunteers, including many young people from the CLU of Bologna, an impromptu lunch within a couple of hours thanks to word of mouth, where nothing was missing, not even the dessert, along with an impromptu moment of singing Romagna mia.
Here, this familiarity, this gladness, this humanity, I think are the Nazarene's caress amid all this mud and pain.
The Eucharist among the neighborhood streets.
I study at the Milan Polytechnic, but these days I was staying with my family in Cesena. On Sunday I went to Mass at the church of San Rocco, the parish in one of the neighborhoods most affected by the flood. On the instructions of Fr. Paolo, some ministers of the Eucharist together with some young people were assigned to take Communion through the streets of the neighborhood. After Mass was over, a friend suggested that I accompany one of them. In order to be recognized we went around with open umbrellas, in the middle of the streets cluttered with furniture, muddy dirty objects with people working tirelessly. I was especially struck by the reaction of the first people we gave Jesus to, the touched faces of those who had lost so much. One gentleman in particular told us, "He is the basis of everything." He and another lady thanked us for this gesture and left us with big smiles. Another thing that impressed me was the reaction of two women, in two separate moments, who upon the proposal of Communion, replied, "I have not confessed," with an almost resigned face as if to say, "Look at me, I am not remediable." The minister of the Eucharist said that whoever wishes can receive Christ, because He came for all. And later as we walked he added that in front of Communion there is a disproportion, and it is true, because it puts you back before One who takes you as you are and makes you face even the greatest labors. Standing there before the host and praying made me feel poor, destitute and needy.
Help from afar "for a fact to which we belong"
Dear Davide, Responding to the invitation to support the communities affected by the flood, we decided to send the money collected during our Fraternity meeting. Responding to the questions "What fulfils me?" and "What is it worth a sacrifice for?", we told each other that we wanted to express a gesture of solidarity that at the same time signified belonging to the fact that brought us together. Grateful to the story of salvation that each of us has encountered, we are therefore committed to "rekindle the burning embers of faith" as we heard from Fr. Lepori at the Fraternity Exercises. Not by our own merit or initiative, but in fact provoked by the initiative of the Charism to which we belong, which through your personal adherence to Christ takes voice.
Mater Misericordiae Fraternity, Milan
EMILIA-ROMAGNA FLOOD FUNDRAISER
1. Satispay – Click on this link
2. Bank transfer with reference “Alluvione Emilia-Romagna”
IBAN: IT 12D 06230 01614 0000 1511 0546 - BIC: CRPPIT2PXXX
Headed to: Associazione Laicale Fraternità di Comunione e Liberazione