The focolarini from Florianopolis write: “Last February 23, 2014 a simple ceremony was held in the presence of Archbishop Wilson Tadeu Jönck and members of the local Focolare community, during which we officially transferred the men’s focolare to the slum in Morro, favela Monte Serrat on the outskirts of the city.”
“For us who live the charism of unity,” says Lucival Silva, “we feel the importance of being there to offer our contribution, along with those from the local Church who are already working in Morro, seeking to build bridges that unite the people of the city who are often separated by walls of indifference among the middle class, the rich and the poor.”
There was joy in the eyes of the focolarini involved in this adventure, and in the local community of the Movement. It was like reliving a piece of the history of the Focolare when Chiara Lubich and the first group in Trent began by serving the poor, which led them to realise that “every person is a candidate for unity.”
Father Vilson Groh, a priest volunteer from the Movement has been living and working on a network of projects in Morro for many years: public administration and the business world; projects that open young people to new opportunities in life. One of the focolarini named Francisco Sebok works with him in a project that helps young teenagers and young adults to get out of drug trafficking, in one city quarter that is dominated by drug traffickers. Fabrizio Lucisano has already been working for some time as a doctor at the health unity in Morro; and Keles Lima has begun to teach at a school for children. The team also includes Lucival Silva, Miguel Becker and Arion Goes both married focolarini who live with their families.
The house they are renting blends in with the surrounding dwellings and has that touch of harmony which is a characteristic of focolares. “Everyone liked it,” says Francisco; “indeed, with just a few things we tried to arrange it with good taste. It has two rooms, a lounge, a kitchen and bathroom. The owners are building a second floor. In a few months it will also be rented so we can have a more reserved space for our small community and leave the downstairs for the use of the locals.”
Archbishop Wilson Tadeu Jönck blessed the new focolare and celebrated Mass in the local community chapel with Fr Vilson.. The archbishop expressed his hope that “the life of the focolarini would continue to give witness to holiness because God is holy.”
Everyone felt the joy of walking with the Church today, which through Pope Francis “continues to invite us to go out and meet humanity,” Keles added, “close to the people especially those who are most poor and in need.”
“We are well aware that we will never resolve Brazil’s social problem, not even of one city,” Lucival explained, “not even of this favela; but this experience can be a sign from our Movement to the Church and to society, to say that we want to walk with everyone, rich and poor, in order to contribute to the realization of Jesus’ testament: “that all may be one”.
Fabrizio recalled: “In 1993, Chiara Lubich had named the men’s focolare in Florianopolis “Emmaus” and she wrote: ‘Where Jesus was among the disciples. . . . Emmaus is the symbol of Jesus in the midst who illumined the scriptures. . .’ We’ve placed these words of Chiara at the entrance of our focolare so that we will always remember this.”