Publish date 28-02-2024

by Redazione Sermig

Today Sermig is known above all for its Arsenalswhich developed starting from 1983, but before that there was a long journey that allowed a group to become the first community and then fraternity, to increasingly broaden one's horizons, to develop a lifestyle that has invested one's entire life from a commitment of a few hours a week.

«In the first years we didn't have a program, a strategy. There was only the desire to help the weakest, the hungry. A well, a small hospital, were the goal of a summer, of a year. Once the project was finished we couldn't and didn't want to stop and contemplate the result. We were offered or we invented another objective. So step by step, we arrived at having a line, a method. We have arrived today." Thus, in the brochure Sermig 30 years, Rosanna Tabasso recalled the beginnings of that group.

At the beginning, saying Sermig meant referring to many scattered realities which were inspired by a central group which however did not have a fixed headquarters. An unstructured organization, but very active and dynamic. Sermig included small groups with participants committed to helping missionaries and those who suffer, starting from themselves. An incentive to build a new lifestyle to live every day. The desire to move from group to community quickly developed, so that we could all feel responsible. Spirituality and prayer have become a need to be faithful to: this is how the monthly retreat, the public prayer meeting on Tuesdays, was born. Fixed appointments to be experienced every time with a renewed heart. In addition: secretarial and organizational costs were all borne by Sermig, nothing from the proceeds of the activities to subsidize the projects was to be diverted from the main objective.

Testimony of those early years, at least until 1976, is the book Building with hope. In the 1970s, Ernesto Olivero wrote: «I discovered a very interesting detail about Sermig. positive that I want to underline; the fact that it is continually evolving, growing, constantly maturing. I believe that this is a very valid characteristic, not to be lost sight of, because the road always goes up, and binding ourselves to fixed and codified patterns would be like stopping us on the road. The only fixed thing to which we must always remain faithful must be the underlying ideal, that is, giving ourselves to others in the love of Christ. Sermig has two aspects, one practical and one spiritual, which are and must be joined to such an extent that one cannot exist without the other. For this reason, we must continually strengthen our spiritual life precisely as a group, because the action experienced for its own sake easily loses the thrust of the initial enthusiasm, becoming heavy and habitual; instead, it takes on a truly vital aspect only when it becomes the practical implementation of what we are spiritually experiencing: then we manage to be Sermig (i.e. Christians) in any environment. Above all, I think that we must live together a Christian, missionary spirit, available to anyone who needs us, our work. In Sermig one must live Christianity more intensely, managing to truly be oneself, to fully realize oneself. Loving is a wonderful thing, but making sure that many, like us, are looking for an ideal of complete charity is even more beautiful. Sermig doesn't have to be anything special, but a search so that there is more charity and more Jesus in the world. It thus becomes a commitment directly with Christ our friend. Sermig must be everyday life, work, family, prayer, pain, and lots and lots of joy. Everyday life offers us infinite possibilities to bring the love, in which we strongly believe, to our friends, or to those who perhaps we have not committed to loving, to everyone [...]". We are in the times of Vatican II: Sermig with conviction feels at the service of the Church with the autonomy and responsibility that the decree on the apostolate of the laity gives to the latter.

Sermig editorial team
NP January 2024

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