Living the Gospel: universal fraternity

Considering “fratelli tutti” – as Pope Francis says – helps us broaden our horizons.

“Give and it will be given to you”
Father David from Kenya wrote, “I was helping a poor refugee boy I had got to know during the mission in Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya by paying for his schooling but after a while I ran out of money and was no longer able to support him.  I explained this difficulty to him and we said goodbye to one another.

After some time, this boy sent me a message via social media asking me for help again.  It was a great suffering for me not to be able to help him so I decided to sell a cow I had at my parents’ house to pay for his schooling. He was so happy to be able to go back to school again.

In the new parish where I have been living for almost a year, the parishioners decided to visit me one day because they had heard that my father was not well. Among the gifts they brought were three cows. I could not believe it.  It really seemed as if God wanted to say to me “a good measure, pressed down, full and overflowing will be poured into your lap”.
Father David, Kenya

“For my brothers and sisters in Lebanon”
After the disaster of 4 August 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon, I asked myself what I could do to help this country which had already suffered so much. A few days later it would be my birthday: 40 years old. My family and friends wanted to celebrate with me, even if it was just a meal. This could be the perfect opportunity to help the people of Lebanon, I thought. So I asked all those coming to the dinner not to give me any presents but to make a donation to my project to help Beirut. At the end of the evening, I was amazed by the amount of money raised: a good 600 euros! I never imagined it would be so much, especially since there were very few guests at the dinner because of Covid restrictions.

This gesture then caused a chain reaction among my friends.  Emilia gave the proceeds from her graduation to another project, Francesco decided to sponsor a child in a developing country for his birthday, and then the children in the neighbourhood, when they heard about our birthday initiative, gave the proceeds of the sale of products made with recycled materials they had organised, again for Lebanon! Freely you have received, freely give…  This is what we strongly believe in, always, when we receive and when we give.
L., Ischia (Italy)

“From a sandwich to a hundredfold for the poor”.
One day I was in a sandwich shop, waiting to buy a sandwich, and I had just enough money for one. As I was coming out of the shop, I saw a lady looking at everyone who was eating. I realised she was hungry and was waiting for someone to offer her something to eat. I took out my sandwich and gave it to her. I can always eat something later, I said to myself. She was overjoyed. Then I took her to the fruit shop and asked the greengrocer if he could give her some fruit which I would pay for the next day since I had no money at that moment. The greengrocer gladly gave the lady not just one piece of fruit, but a whole bag of fruit, free of charge. I was so happy to see how a small sandwich could become a chain of the hundredfold.
Mumbai (India)

Lorenzo Russo



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