Pope Francis recently tweeted: “Faith becomes tangible when it finds its expression in love and, especially, in the service of our brothers and sisters in difficulty”. As Christians, we believe that it is not enough not to commit wrongdoing, but we must strive to fill our lives with good actions and service of others. Servant of God Don Oreste Benzi, a priest who dedicated his life to serving the ‘least’ of his community, often said: “You must not be afraid of the evil in the world, but of the good that is lacking in the world”.
When this year’s hurricanes struck several areas of the U.S. and the Caribbean, many of us felt helpless, as countless people were suffering, lost their homes or even their lives. As members of the Youth for a United World living in Washington,DC, we felt we needed to do something to help communities that were most in need, like our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. We wanted to bring them the good that was lacking. As Jesus himself said: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. We needed to take action.
We came together and decided to have a fundraiser – a pasta dinner – a simple and ‘attractive’ way to bring people together and raise money to send to the Focolare community on the disaster-stricken island. “Pasta for Puerto Rico” – organized in a very short period of time, brought together Focolare members and their friends for a great cause. Even those who could not be physically present were eager to contribute in any way possible, including prayers: “All the best from Atlanta! Wishing much success for this great event to help our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico!”; “…I have another commitment, but I would like to donate to Puerto Rico…Thank you for all you are doing! God Bless ya!” Monetary and material donations started pouring in well before the event. We understood this as a sign that God wanted this to happen.
The song “Almost like praying”, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda for his native land, made for the evening’s background music, as videos and images of Puerto Rico streamed while guests enjoyed their meal and great conversation.
During a time when everyone is busy with holiday events, many still found time to commit selfless acts for people who need it most. It gives us hope, that – despite everything that is happening in the world today – there is still plenty of good to be shared, and hope that people in need, like our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, will not be forgotten.
Donations are still coming in. One hundred percent of the proceeds from “Pasta for Puerto Rico” will be sent directly to the Focolare community of the island who are working directly with those in need.
Anyone who wishes to contribute can send a check to New Humanity of the Focolare:
PO Box 11791
New Brunswick, NJ 08906
Make checks payable to New Humanity. Indicate that donations are for Puerto Rico Relief Fund.
For more information about New Humanity, visit the website: http://www.new-humanity.org/en/