Taking Care of the Poor Gives Joy – Adriano Roccucci Spoke about the Pope in Lviv

EXCLUSIVE ARTICLES31.10.201318:04 On October 29 the meeting on the subject "Pope Francis is hope for our time" was held in the Lviv Palace of Arts. The topic about the Holy Father was presented by Adriano Roccucci, General Secretary of the Saint Egidio Community, historian, professor of the University Roma Tre, who is personally acquainted with the Pope. The host of the meeting was the Coordinator of the local Saint Egidio Community Ivanna Synytska and, except for the guest from Rome, speakers were the Community volunteers and Youth for Peace activists Natalia Lupiy and Petro Tkachyshyn.

Natalia Lupiy told about the activity of the Lviv Saint Egidio Community. Every Thursday its members gather in St. Andrew's Church to prepare food for the homeless and to give them love and hope. Besides, they also organize large-scale actions. For instance, for the Christmas lunch in Sts. Peter and Paul's Church (Jesuit Church) young volunteers received and gave food to 200 homeless people.

Professor Roccucci talked about the key words employed by the Pope at the meeting with youth in Rio de Janeiro. He said that neither a person nor a Church can withdraw into themselves.  A room where windows and doors never open will be enveloped with humidity, will have its walls spoiled, will start to smell badly. A person who lives in a closed, even though positive, environment sooner or later will fall ill. Christians who associate only with similar to them, ideal people should be aware of the fact that they do not live according to the Gospel. This is what the phrase "go out to streets" means, and not how these words were interpreted by some mass media.

As the Pope said, "certainly if a person goes out to street he can get into a scrape but it is thousand times better than a Church falling ill".

Mr. Roccucci gave as an example Peter and Natalia who "once a week give out sandwiches and the whole week they prepare for that but they are not sad". Taking care of the homeless might seem such a hard labor. The professor called it "the biggest secret the Pope talks about". And the secret consists in the fact that when dreaming for the poor a person dreams about more joyful future for himself: "Who dreams for himself lives in sorrow. Who dreams for others lives in joy". This formula sounds incredible but looking at the representatives of the Saint Egidio Community one is eager to verify it in one's own experience.

Marta Zozulia

Photographs: by the author

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