A week to start over

Publish date 19-05-2023

by Arsenale della Speranza - S.Paolo

Let's start from the end: the moment of sharing to try to fix what we have learned in these days. The gathered group is a good mix: 6 young people from different parts of Brazil who have arrived at the Arsenale for a week of volunteering promoted by the Jesuits, some of our more or less young volunteers who have chosen to share a little of their summer holidays with us (here it's a bit like August) and us.
So much emotion that perhaps can be summed up in one of the sentences of these boys: "Thank you because in these days you have made us dream with you".

In fact we did a little bit of everything, or rather we touched and dusted off a little bit of everything. After the first day of meeting, we immediately set off intensely: we "attacked" the spaces of a currently disused building in the Arsenale that we dream of dedicating to welcoming young people. We ended up so dirty that we had to offer these guys the chance to take an impromptu shower.
In those conditions we wouldn't even have been able to sit down to lunch... and in front of the almost black peace T-shirt that a girl raised as a symbol of the day, we said to ourselves that: «Peace doesn't mean being at peace».

The next day we dusted off and arranged the books in our library, enjoying the possibility of sending a message to the men we welcome: we are cleaning for you, because we want to do something beautiful for you.
And then another action, this time also with the participation of some welcome, which took us to the spaces of the chapel at the end of the road from the Arsenale where the activities of the "Praça" were held. There was a need to clean up and tidy up ahead of the next carnival parade. And here too the joy of participating in this restart prevailed over the fatigue. Not only that, while we were finishing cleaning we received a visit from a Latin American group of Christian Life Communities - a reality present in 62 countries, which brings together adults and young people of all conditions, linked to Ignatian spirituality who seek to harmonize faith with daily life – come to experience the Arsenale experience.
We found ourselves praying the Angelus together, having a bit of the whole South American continent in our hearts.

We also went to our parishes to get to know them and bring some food aid that will be distributed in the next few days. And we concluded with Dom Luciano.
We discovered that one of these boys was very fond of Dom Luciano Mendes: we decided to take them to the room where he slept when he passed by and which today is a chapel dedicated to him. We told him what we have learned from this precious friendship, the good testimony of this man of God that we wish not only to remember but also to pass on to those who have not yet met him. We dreamed touching, dusting, struggling together: we hope that each of them, returning home, to their daily lives, has brought with them this desire to start over, to think that if we entrust ourselves totally to God together, nothing is impossible .
Thank you, indeed… obrigado!

Irene Panarello
NP February 2023

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