“Before the start of the long tour in Brazil (May 16-July 27),” the friends of Gen Rosso write, “there was the long-awaited meeting with Franciscan Fr Hans Stapel and Brazilian Nelson Giovaneli, founders of the Fazenda da Esperanca community where young people in trouble are welcomed to live a lifestyle based on the Gospel. The meeting took place at their central headquarters in Guaratingueta, near to San Paulo. We felt that before beginning this challenging journey, we should take a moment to be with God and with those who, like us, had decided to embark on an adventure so rooted in the Gospel.”
The visit to the Fazenda began in the small chapel, where we remembered Chiara Lubich, whose spirituality is the inspiration behind the life of the Fazenda da Esperanca. In 2010, when the official recognition was given by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Fiar Hans and his collaborators desired to visit the international headquarters of the Focolare in order to “thank” Chiara, paying her a visit in the chapel where her body rests.
The friends from Gen Rosso asked Fr Hans what he had in mind for the months before them in Brazil: “Let’s look at the beginnings of the Focolare Movement in Trent,” he answered. “Around the table of that first focolare there was a focolarina and a pauper, a focolarina and a pauper. . . There was the spiritual dimension joined to the social dimension. This is our challenge, especially here in South America, but I think also in the whole world. When there is the spiritual dimension without the incarnation of it on a social level, something’s missing. When the opposite happens, there is social involvement that has no roots in God, and the effort is vain. The challenge is found in the unity of these two dimensions.”
This was also the plan for the Gen Rosso tour that began on May 16 with their Musical Streetlight. The Musical will involve 200 young people from the Fazenda da Esperanca and will conclude with performance at the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro on July 27. The first 3 concerts were attended by over 5000 people. “Each day we try to root ourselves in God,” Gen Rosso writes, “through reflection, the life of the Word and the mutual love that we try to have among us, which generates the presence of Jesus in our midst (Mt. 18:20). With the strength of His presence we then try to love all the teenagers who are working with us on the “Strong without violence” project.” The teenagers are often coming from experiences of abandonment and unspeakable suffering. They find a refuge in drugs: “We’d like to offer them the joy that doesn’t pass away,” they write “because Jesus opens the door to the Eternal, even in the midst of much of our own suffering and that of others in this world.”
In conclusion: “This is the message that we would like to cry out to society here in Brazil, through our shows and the media: Something exists that doesn’t pass away: God. And he loves us immensely. It is he who can make us strong without any violence!”
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