Teenagers of the Focolare at Refugee Landings in Sicily, Italy

 
A summer camp in the outskirts of Sicily, examines the problems of adolescence and works for the local region. With refugees they come up with a plan for the insertion of refugees who have just crossed the Mediterranean.

2014_07_rpu_sicillia_sbarchiThe Teens for Unity from southern Italy have held their annual “Big Bang” meeting in the extreme peripheries of Sicily (July 1, 2014 – July 6, 2014). This was the fifth such event and, once again, it was rich in content, full of emotion and generous commitment. The preparations were carried out by the teenagers themselves, who not only decided on the content, but also the dynamics and timing of the event. They reviewed the last five years and examined the current situation. The teenage editors of the Teens for Unity in Calabria and Sicily (GRAFOTEENS) had already highlighted some issues for adolescents such as the difficult relationship with their own bodies, with the growing number of cases of anorexia and boulemia. The teenagers wanted to change the approach to the problem. They dealt with it in a newspaper article and then staged an open-ended “psychodrama” that they left to be continued in the various work groups.

Another burning issue was the relationship between teenagers and parents, which was presented by psychiatrist Ezio Aceti. He focused on communication and the strong feelings that can unfold in friendships, love and even education.

The tragic deaths of 45 mirgrants who perished in the hold of a ship caused an interruption in the summer camp. The boat carrying the corpses arrived at the Port of Pozzallo a few kilometres away from the site of the camp, so the Teens for Unity decided to cancel the concluding festivities on Saturday and attend the prayer vigil that was going to be held to commemerate the dead and comfort the living. This decision brought them to the heart of the tragedy of immigration, meeting with Caritas workers and learning what prompts thousands of people to flee their own war-torn lands in search of peace and employment.

The local diocese asked the Teens for Unity to be involved in the Vigil.They decided to bring both their “roots” and their “wings”. Their “roots” was the journey they share as members of the Focolare Movement. They read a passage by Igino Giordani from 1926: Come, my exiled brother, let us embrace, in which Giordani discusses the duty towards others and the least. The “wings” was represented by a letter to the 45 deceased refugees, written by a 14 year old girl, Enrica, who asked forgiveness for othe world’s indifference and lack of sensitivity.

At the conclusion of the prayer vigil the Teens for Unity were greeted and thanked by the vicar general of the diocese, and some of the refugees and minors who had escaped death just a few days earlier. A dialogue was begun in broken English and Italian, and the youths from the Focolare invited the young refugees to attend some upcoming appointments that could help them to become inserted in the local environment. Perhaps the real “Big Bang” was the new beginning offered at this refugee landing and represented by the Chiara Luce Badano Award that was bestowed on the Sicilian Communities of Ispica and Rosolini for their warm welcome and acceptance of the refugees, especially minors in search of a better future.

Source: Città Nuova online

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