Morning Mass today was celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner. In his homily, he talked about the centurion of today’s gospel who asked Jesus to heal his servant. He was a pagan, we do not know his name, we do not know much about him - but we repeat his words in every Holy Mass: “Lord, I am not worthy ...” This man teaches us the deep faith that Jesus expects of us. The Gospel is the Word that must guide us every day; it is much more important than theological comments or the news.
In the morning session, Cardinal Krajewski shared with us his experience of serving as Papal Almoner. Through many examples, he showed the true kind mercy to which the Church is called. Helping the poor, homeless and needy is our evangelical responsibility. Recalling the words of Pope Francis, he emphasized the need to help every human being. In the poor, Christ comes to us.
In the second part of the morning, we heard a conference by Sr. Gabriela Bottani, S.M.C., from the Talitha Kum network; she is one of the most prominent anti-trafficking advocates of our times. Taltiha Kum is based in Rome at the UISG headquarters and unites religious congregations in a common service: prayer and action for victims of human trafficking. In statistics and graphics, Sr. Gabriella presented the extent of the problem from domestic violence, child soldiers, sexual abuse, labor abuse, harassment, to immigrants and refugees. Each year in February, on the liturgical memorial of Bl. Josephina Bakhita, the Church is celebrating a day of solidarity with the victims of human trafficking and tries to raise the awareness to the universality of this problem and the need for preventive action.
In the afternoon we talked about different apostolates. By way of Zoom, Sr. Simone Hachen, SAC, from Germany shared her work as a social worker and in helping migrants and refugees. Sr. Alda Isa Paes, SAC, presented different activities aimed at empowering women and children. Her view included the perspective of the whole of society and Church and contained very impressive examples from her work in counselling and practical help for affected women and children.
Then we listened to Sr. Hanna Kiedrowska, SAC, who collaborates with Cardinal Krajewski, helping every week on her free day in the showers for the poor and in food distribution. We also heard the testimony of Mr. Adam Piekarski, an artist from Poland who became homeless because of his alcoholism and was living miserably in the streets of Rome for some years. Thanks to the help of Fr. Leszek Pyś, CSsR, who like Sr. Hanna cooperates with Cardinal Krajewski and works among the poor of Rome, he was able to overcome his addiction and go back to being an artist.
This year he was asked to create the design for the Christmas stamps of the Vatican Post Office. The Capitulars found these conferences and testimonies very enriching and touching. We heard about many experiences, stories and activities “first hand,” and the discussion on these issues will certainly continue among us. We concluded the afternoon with Vespers in the aula.