Archbishop Rino Fisichella visited a drug abuse rehabilitation center managed by Shalom Community


Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization visited “Volta Israel” Project accompanied by the founder of Shalom Catholic Community, Moyses Azevedo, and Father Silvio Scopel, the missionary in charge of the mission of Fortaleza, Brazil. Volta Israel Project works with drug abuse rehabilitation process through evangelism, prevention and treatment of addiction.

Madalena Aguiar, missionary and responsible for Human Promotion in the mission of Fortaleza, presented the project to His Grace Rino Fisichella and told him about her experience to be testimony of many transformed lives that passed through this place. Soon after, two young people gave their testimonies of addiction rehabilitation.

After the testimonies, His Grace Rino Fisichella shared his joy of visiting Shalom Community and knowing the Project:

“The face of Matthew attests that he is truly happy. I am a bishop who is near Pope Francis, and he gave me the responsibility of the evangelization. It is precisely for that reason that I feel close to Moyses. Moyses, Shalom, all the missionaries, the priests, the families, the seminarians, with Emmir, all those who, in Shalom charisma, live this beautiful adventure of evangelization, are a fundamental pillar of the New Evangelization.

During the Jubilee of Mercy, one Friday a month, the Holy Father performed the “Friday of Mercy”, in which he did a concrete act of mercy. One of the acts he did over the year was to visit a treatment house like this house. Pope Francis met friends like you, he listened to them as I am listening you, and in the end of the meeting he spoke to them. And, after, they ate a pizza. And I desire to speak to you, too. A word that contains a message. And the first word is love. Do never doubt that there is someone who loves you. Because the escape of drugs is often the escape from not feeling loved. There will be always someone who loves you, and this One asks you nothing in return of his love, because that is the love of Jesus. Jesus loved us without asking us anything in return, and that is the most important thing. Because, often, our love is like that: we love because we want the love of the others, we want something in return. Jesus, on the other hand, loved us without asking for anything in return, and it is in the love of Jesus that we find the gratuitousness of love. Jesus loves you because you are you, and for no other reason. This love that He has for us is so great that it makes us want to love Him too.

I want to tell you a beautiful story that happened to Saint Peter. You know that St. Peter betrayed Jesus. Not once, but three times. After the resurrection, Jesus met Peter. And what Jesus said  to Peter was not “why did you betray me?” Well… if I were Jesus I would have asked that. Because when somebody from our social circle do something to us, the first thing we ask is, “What happened? Why did you do that?”. But Jesus did not like this. Jesus said to Peter, “Do you love me?” And Peter answered him, “Lord, I like you.” Peter did not tell Jesus “I love you”. Then, Jesus thought that Peter did not understand the question, then, the second time, he said, “Peter, do you love me?” And Peter, for the second time, said “I like you.” So, Jesus, for the third time, asked to Peter, “Peter, do you like me? Jesus no longer said “do you love me?”, he said “do you like me”? Do you know the difference between love and like? Because love means “I give you my whole life” and “to like” means “I give you a part of my life”. When you meet a nice girl, and you fall in love with her, and you ask, “Do you love me?” If she answers, “I like you,” you immediately understand that you can not continue the relationship, because to love is One thing and to like is another.

After 30 years of this meeting of Jesus with Peter, Peter was in Rome, and there in Rome he was crucified, not like Jesus, but upside down, and at that moment Peter knew how to say to Jesus, “Now I love you”. The first Pope knew how to say “I love you” to Jesus after 30 years, and Jesus knew how to wait. When Peter was able to say to Jesus, “I love you,” Jesus accepted his love. And so Jesus does with each one of us. He says to each one of us, “Do you love me?” And we respond each day, “Lord, I like you,” and Jesus has patience with us. Jesus is able to wait 30 years so that someday, we may say to him, “Jesus, I love you.” Before Jesus, no matter my mistakes and my sins. For Jesus, what matters is that I tell him every day, despite my limits, my sins, my frailties, “I love you”. We are called to live so each day, me first. What I’m talking about calls a second word: Hope. I said at the beginning: do never forget that there will always be someone who loves you. Never doubt that inside of you there is the joy of Hope. Alone we will never succeed, but with God’s help and the presence of God in us, we can do everything. So do not let anything stealing from you the hope. Even drugs cannot steal you the hope. Because hope dwells inside, in the deepest part of us. And that hope is the hope of being happy. “


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