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Astalli Centre: 2019 Training Course on the theme "Europe – Plural Future. With migrants, towards a new common space". The initiative, divided into 3 meetings, was implemented with the contribution of the European Parliament and the European Commission, in collaboration with the Pontifical Gregorian University and the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation, which aims to reflect on challenges facing the UE. On the15th May, Professor Romano Prodi, spoke on the theme: "Which Europe, for our common future?". It is necessary to take action on education to reduce inequalities; "only by broadening ourselves up to the dimension of the world we can hope for a Europe with a plural future," he underlined. On Wednesday, the 22nd May, with Chiara Ferrari, IPSOS Researcher, Mauro Magatti, Sociologist from the Catholic University in Milan, and journalist Roberto Zichittella, focus on "Immigration in a fragmented Italy". Dissatisfaction and immigration are increasingly interconnected issues. A very far from the reality of facts perception of the phenomenon is widespread, enhanced by a media representation progressively less able to describe complexity. In conclusion, on Wednesday, the 29th May, the round table: "Building democracy in a plural Europe" in collaboration with the Foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. In the debate on migration, the emphasis is on borders: should they be open or closed? But, perhaps, one of the most concerning issues of recent years has been the loss of social cohesion, both in individual Member States and in Europe as a whole. Inequalities are growing and many factors are undermining European unity and solidarity. The focus on “new arrivals” hides a substantial lack of interest on migration on the long term, on inclusion and on exclusion processes that also affect children and grandchildren of long-established migrants. How can integration and a sense of belonging be encouraged, allowing all social groups, at risk of exclusion, to share an active part in the society as members and not as guests? The course contributes to the campaign supported by Astalli Centre and JRS Europe entitled "The power of vote", which called for European citizens to vote with due regard for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, for a Europe that remains faithful to principles of solidarity and equality on which it is based.For more information: www.centroastalli.it
"Stop and walk" is the invitation and the name of the pilgrimage, in the land of St. Francis, that from 25 to 28 April involved 65 young people, coming from Chieri and Turin. During four days they walked through the poppies fields and hills covered of olive trees, from Spoleto to Assisi enjoying and rediscovering the simplicity of silence, of listening to the Word of God and of walking together. They were able to share their desires, their questions and their search for God with the help of short passages from the life of St. Francis, of his conversion, from failure to being able to see authentically. "Pain broke through where a bad education based on permissiveness and weakness had only hardened the heart. I understood that the long lasting illness had basically been a grace. It had been as a plough overturning soil, breaking it and making it possible for spring to break out. Above all, it had rendered two services to me: it had taken away securities that were many in me and it had given me “new eyes”. Everything seemed new to me, ever more new, and the light that entered my eyes was transformed inside my heart into joy. I think that my first real prayers were those of that time, even though many times before I had prayed with my mother. In any case, my need to thank dates back to that time". (“I, Francis” by Carlo Carretto) Very precious were fr Gianfranco Laiolo (a Salesian priest working in shelters and rehabilitation communities for young drug addicts) with the narrative of his conversion, and Sister Rosaria (an Alcantarine Franciscan) with the story of her friendship with the blind Bartimaeus. Among the organizers and participants were young people belonging to the groups of San Carlo Center in Chieri and to the EYM-Missionary Laegue group from the Sociale Institute in Turin, with the generous help of some members of CLC. A sign of hope and vitality in the ecclesial reality and in the apostolic collaboration between Jesuits and laity in Turin.
"It's been a pleasure! The body as the place of relationship, of relationships, of encounter". This was the main theme of the PRE-T and EYM Leaders General Meeting held in Rome between the 25th and the 28th April 2019. 110 boys and girls, all between the ages of 17 and 25, from the different communities in Italy, who for four days have been reflecting, praying and raising questions together on the theme of the body and of affectivity, accompanied and guided by Father Gaetano Piccolo and by Dr Anna Martusciello, psychotherapist. Different inputs were offered and in-depth insights shared. Among the emerging issues: the awareness that the body “is speaking to us” and only by listening carefully to its messages, we are enabled to take care of others and understand their deepest needs; the body connects us to others, exposes us to the possibility of being hurt and makes us vulnerable; acknowledging fragility and wounds and calling them by their name is the first step of a healing process; faith is "incarnated" and without the body it would not be possible; the invitation not to be afraid of our weakness, because it is through it that His love for us reaches us, enabling us to become a body-community. Among the most precious moments were the general assemblies, the sharing in small groups, the penitential vigil, the daily masses - one of which was presided by the world YEM Responsible, Father Frederic Fornos – and the final feast. Many questions, both ethical and of meaning, came up with the possibility and the joy of listening to never pre-established, liberating, vital answers.
Br. Pietro Rusconi’s narrative from Chad. "We say, in our Congregation, that we must reach holiness through service. Well, I’m approaching the age of 80, and I’m pretty sure: I still need a few dozen years to reach that goal...".This is the unusual story of a Lombard religious - Brother Pietro Rusconi - who has been working in Chad for 40 years in a silence, broken only by the noise of the garage he always sets up, wherever he is. A “sui generis” missionary, whose desk is fuller of bolts than of books, of technical drawings rather than of theological works. A bit rough, our "Ruscun"; yet, he has restored dignity to disabled children who were dragging themselves along the streets, he repairs agricultural equipment, he helps women to free themselves from the continuous need of collecting wood, by providing them with "improved cookers" to save energy and defend the environment from desertification. In recent years he has been working in the Diocese of Mongo together with Fr. Franco Martellozzo. For more information read the interview (in Italian)
This is not a simple voluntary service or community experience but for young people of this group, Living Stones is an authentic formation journey which leads to "maturity of faith". This is a dynamic reality, in constant movement. "During the last 3 months new groups have been formed in Chicago, Kiev, Fribourg (Switzerland), Ciudad de Mexico," Fr. Jean Paul Hernandez SJ explains. The main object and study being carried out in ecclesiastical conferences in France, Spain and Italy and in the different dioceses is discovering a new method of evangelization From 2 to 5 May, a "three-day study" program on "Contemporary art and spirituality" will be held in Zurich. About 150 young people are expected to attend from different European communities. Mgr. De Raemy, auxiliary bishop of Lausanne-Geneva-Fribourg who is in charge of youth ministry within the conference of Swiss bishops will be taking part. Among the upcoming summer initiatives, the Matera group have proposed to include service abroad at the end of July on the occasion of "Matera European Capital of Culture". The other initiatives programmed - Santiago, Puente La Reina, Paris, Greece, EESS sul Sempione - can be found by visiting the site. The collaboration between Living Stones and the Pontifical Commission on Sacred Archeology and the Benedictine Sisters of Priscilla is still in progress during its one-year experimentation. In addition to the guided tours, among the various pastoral initiatives, the Living Stones residential community at Priscilla - three girls, one boy and till August a Maltese seminarist - have organized during Lent 4 "Saturdays" of prayer on the book of Jonah, a figure frequently represented in Priscilla's frescoes, with a commentary on the images and the biblical text. The Community has also established a regular contribution together with prof. Dall'Asta and prof. Tibaldi. on the Radio Maria program "The masterpieces of Italian art" . Over 32 groups are present in Europe. Numerous visits are made by Muslims, tourists or immigrants. "The deep communion that is created during those moments where they are talking explicitly about faith becomes the most accepted form of a sincere welcome and of profound dialogue is amazing", concludes Father Hernandez SJ.
ASTALLI 2019 REPORT: "The choice of inclusion”. "Every dead person at sea, either through torture or violence, is an offense to the entire human race": this is how the president of the Italian bishops, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, submitted the Annual Report of the Astalli Center, on 4 April, in Rome, at the Argentina Theatre. The Astalli report primarily manifests an increase in precariousness. The abolition of humanitarian protection (which was granted in many cases precisely as a result of the occurrence of health or social vulnerability), the complication of procedures for obtaining a residence which is a basic right and more generally, the multiplication of bureaucratic obstacles at all levels result in excluding a growing number of migrants from receiving local services, the president of the Centre, Fr. Camillo Ripamonti stated. The demand for basic services (canteens, showers, food parcels, clothing) is strong in all areas: about 4,000 are making use of the canteen in Rome, more than 900 new migrants are going to the day center in Palermo. An important turning point in 2018, according to the report, was the security decree which was then legalized. This is a measure that, "slows down the process of integration and risks creating more irregularity and insecurity", says Fr. Ripamonti. This is the reason the service which supports clients to build their autonomy has been strengthened. «The projects carried out by Centro Astalli during 2018 were largely focused on strengthening services and activities aimed at social inclusion, with particular attention being given to forced migrants who are in a particularly vulnerable condition: minors who are not accompanied, single-parent families, people with serious injuries ». The report also presents a series of good local practices in Palermo, Catania, Trento, Vicenza, Padua and Rome, where the study on Constitution and Citizenship of the Italian school culminated with the visit of the students to the Constitutional Court.