Last week we welcomed Chiara Giovetti who came from Rome to visit our Diocese. Chiara works at the project office of the Consolata Missionaries and was instrumental in helping our diocese receive support for a couple of projects.
One of them allows us to provide food to about 750 children (100 of which are under 18 months' old) in three parishes: Good Shepherd (Siteki), St Peregrine's (Bulandzeni) and Holy Rosary (Mankanyane).
We were able to visit two of these centres during her stay in the country. It was also a good opportunity for me to be there.
I had heard about the importance of the project and the clear situation of need of so many people but I had never been there. It is really so.
During our stay at Good Shepherd (Siteki) someone stood up to thank the Catholic Church for the project and added two more things:
- the first one is the hope that the project will continue in the future (and this will depend on receiving more funds as the diocesan resources are very limited;
- the second one, which touched me most, was: "there are many other children in the community who do not have enough to eat".
This second one touched me because of their sense of being one family where everyone counts. They are grateful for what they receive and hope it will continue but they cannot close their eyes to the need of others.
It also touched me because aware of what was in front of me and her words, one cannot but wonder how comes that so many children, so many people do not have enough to eat in this beautiful country.
For us, as a church, it is not enough to give food to those that are hungry. We need to understand why it is happening and work with others to make sure we all live with the dignity of a child of God.
Thinking of this I came across the following text from the "Compedium of the Social Doctrine of the Church":
"5. Love faces a vast field of work and the Church is eager to make her contribution with her social doctrine, which concerns the whole person and is addressed to all people. So many needy brothers and sisters are waiting for help, so many who are oppressed are waiting for justice, so many who are unemployed are waiting for a job, so many peoples are waiting for respect. How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their head? The scenario of poverty can extend indefinitely..."