The help of the Focolare communities in Latin American countries: actual gestures to be “all brothers (and sisters)”, as Pope Francis invoked in his last encyclical.
In Peru and in the other Latin American countries we see the continuous arrival of migrants, especially from Venezuela, but also Cuba, Central America, Haiti, and Arab countries. The Focolare communities are committed every day to helping these people.
Silvano Roggero, a focolarino in Peru tells us: “Our adventure in Peru begins a few days before Christmas 2017. We invited some Venezuelans we met for lunch at home. At first there were five of them, later on we moved to the “Juan Carlos Duque” Centre because more than 120 people came!
I remember Geno’s meeting with Karlin and her three young children. Crouching on the pavement, she was selling sweets. Geno heard a loud voice inside: “It’s Jesus!”. Going back he buys some sweets and invites her to lunch. That Sunday she came with the 3 children and also brought her sister with her two children!”
In Colombia near Bogotá, Alba, who arrived as a migrant from Venezuela in 2014, has become a point of reference for the “Caminantes” (migrants) who pass by daily at the local Centre.
One day, she hadn’t had lunch yet when a pregnant woman with her partner visited the centre needing medical attention. At the local dispensary there was a very attentive and kind nurse who could help them. Despite the cold, the hunger, the worry of leaving her volunteer colleagues alone at the Centre and also her children at home without lunch, Alba accompanied them to the dispensary and waited with them. At the end of the visit she accompanied the two young parents back to the Centre, and guess what happened? The Caminantes, knowing what Alba had done for the couple, put together some money to buy two cartons of eggs for her, her children and colleagues! Truly a hundredfold! From whom? From those who need it most!
At the end of 2018, the Focolare community in Mexico City joined in the “humanitarian reception” of groups of migrants. A civil association inspired by the charism of the Focolare Movement gave its technical contribution and coordination to the authorities. A location was established to facilitate the collection and distribution of food, clothes, personal hygiene products and dozens of blankets. You can imagine the gratitude of the migrants.
Brazil has also welcomed many migrants. The local community reports: “The multiplication of donations surprises us. We make a request for a heater, suddenly we get much more. Someone asks us for a sink and the next day a person we don’t know offers to help and donates five.
One day a friend goes to buy something to give us. He explains to the shopkeeper the reasons for the purchase and is surprised by the discount and the free delivery offered . On another occasion a person we don’t know tells us: “I will organise an event and with the proceeds I will order some food for you to send to those who need it”.