It has been a few days since I returned from Italy, from the work camp organized by the PJV team and the Daughters of Jesus who are present in the parish of “San Paolo Apostolo” in Caivano (Italy).
Our main objectives have been:
1. To collaborate in the GREST (in Spain we talk about urban camping) organized by the parish.
[Translator’s note: The word GREST literally means “GRUppo ESTivo” (“summer group”) and is the summer “version” of the oratory dedicated to children. ]
2. To promote spaces of encounter and coexistence between the young people of Spain and Italy.
3. To know the reality of the neighborhood, the work that is done in the parish and in it, the initiatives that lead to the fight against environmental deterioration.
Upon summing up the experience we felt that expectations were exceeded. I share some resonances of the experience. The group from Spain arrived on June 25 in the afternoon. That same day the Grest (Urban Camping) that took the title “All’Opera” (“To work”) had begun
I found this poster that is related to the title:
Although I have not yet had time to reread the experience in the light of God, I feel very profoundly the beauty I have found in this neighborhood so sorely afflicted, Caivano:
– Beauty in children who, in the midst of so much suffering that is their lot, start a smile, a hug, a conspiratorial look, a gesture of wanting to come to the encounter wanting to understand an unknown language.
– Beauty in young people who have invested the best of themselves so that children can enjoy to the fullest and be able to experience that there are healthy relationships for all.
– Beauty in those who do not find work (often because they are from Parco Verde in Caivano) or those who have precarious work, yet still want to live honestly, without falling into the temptation of “easy money” that leads to crime.
– Beauty in fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who have lost their loved ones due to pollution, and who fight against evil, committing themselves to the end and wishing that those who come have a better world. I mention especially the association “Noi genitori di tutti” (we parents of all), the testimony of Marzia Caccioppoli and the “Giovani della speranza” (“Youth of Hope”) association of the parish.
– Beauty in the Word of God that has been given to us every day that makes us experience his love above all through the human mediations that He uses. God, through his Spirit, brings Hope, Trust, Welcome, Encouragement, Strength and Faith, especially in those who are suffering. I see it in some witnesses of faith that I have met.
– Beauty in the catechists who with so much care and dedication have prepared us many meals and that has made us feel family.
– Beauty in the area of the Parish of San Paolo Apostolo, being a green space in an environment full of garbage and “toxic” environment.
– Beauty in those young people who have to suffer so much and who, thanks to the parish community, can feel loved, encouraged, welcomed, supported …
– Beauty in my colleagues in Spain, who have decided to dedicate their time to others in a different way. Beauty in discovering that it has not been so much in doing many things and working hard, but knowing how to be in a human way, in the style of Jesus, being a reference for some children and young people of the parish. It caught my attention when a young woman asked us how come we had gone to Parco Verde when nobody wants to go there, let alone stay for two weeks.
– Beauty in the great affection expressed in the parish by the Daughters of Jesus who lived there for so many years (who are no longer there) and by the FIs who are currently there. I am very impressed by the good work of accompaniment they have been doing and continue to do.
– Beauty in so many things and almost as imperceptible …
Personally, I felt very challenged. I feel the invitation to continue growing in being welcoming, in listening, gratitude, service, commitment and being Proclamation for others in daily life “from below, from up close, from within” as they teach us in Nazareth.
Delegate of Youth-Vocation Ministry (PJV)
Province of Spain-Italy