They came from North America, Santo Domingo, Australia and Europe. An additional thousand participants were linked up via internet.
Expo 2013 put on display the creative, industrious and courageous spirit of America, of both individuals and of communities who have put themselves on the line. It was a moment for knowing one other better and sharing in a common purpose. No speeches, reports or roundtable discussions were part of the plenary sessions; only a series of brief experiences as a way of introducing the eight workshops that took place on Saturday afternoon. Workshop topics included: music, work, art, faith, health, education, ecology, media and communication.
“This is change that begins from the relations, from the relationships that are created among people that construct the social fabric,” declared Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of the city who stopped in to greet the assembly. “And this is the wish that I have for you from here on: that you will continue to build unity at all levels, even if it will be necessary to risk because this is what will most serve today’s society.”
This was the experience of Carol Spale who lives in Chicago. In a difficult family situation, she received free assistance from her neighbors, which provoked a chain reaction that today continues to involve her entire neighborhood and city administration in an effort in favor of the needy in her city. This is also reciprocity.
Marisol Jimenez runs the Cafè con Leche School in Santo Domingo, that not only provides education and daily meals for more than 500 children, but also plays a fundamental role in re-establishing social harmony in the city’s poorest quarters.
The same is taking place in Canada and in the entire North America that came together in Chicago to see each other face to face, take stock of the situation and draw new courage to begin again in bringing ahead a variety of projects in many regions of the land.