“The poor are precious in the eyes of God because they know they are not self-sufficient and know they need help.” This statement of Pope Francis from his homily given when celebrating Mass for the World Day of the Poor at the Vatican in November, was experienced first-hand by the volunteers who are in Cape Verde participating in the Shalom Volunteer Program. On Monday, December 2, the group visited a peripheral “zona” (which means “neighborhood” in Cape Verdean Creole) of Son Fransisku (“St. Francis” in Creole) to carry out the work of evangelization door-to-door.
When they arrived, the volunteers and missionaries realized that they were not only there to talk about true love for people, but to receive indescribable affection and attention. Before leaving for this area, God himself was already preparing them for it, because at the Holy Mass celebrated in the morning by a Portuguese priest, he quoted a proverb in his homily alluding to their mission: “No one is so poor, that he cannot give, nor so rich, that he cannot receive”.
Are we going to Son Fransisku?
The houses in the region are simple with few external finishes. The streets are not paved and animals roam freely: chickens, pigs, ducks, cows and dogs. On the sidewalks, some groups of women carried on their heads basins of fish to sell. Others put various clothes on the ground, like a kind of open-air brechó (thrift store). On the streets, children played with old tires and drove their carts with resourcefulness using pieces of wood to move at an impressive speed.
How does evangelization work door-to-door in these places? The volunteers were divided into trios and tasked to go house-to-house inviting themselves for a social visit and to provide medical care the following afternoon. When they arrived at their homes, instead of a bell to announce their arrival, they were greeted with applause. Do you think the conversation ended at the entrance? No!
As soon as the introductions were made, the volunteers were invited to come in and sometimes even have a snack. On that Monday, the houses were full of people and the families gathered in the kitchen preparing food for the feast of St. Francis, a celebration that would take place the next day. In the next article I will provide you with more details about this one!
Do you feel like going on mission too? Take part in the next expedition! The destination is Chaves, Marajó Island.
Translation: Jhoanna Climacosa
Do you want to take this mission with us? Support us!
If you’d like to donate by bank transfer, here are the Banca Prossima codes:
SHALOM CATHOLIC COMMUNITY
IBAN: IT93 S030 6909 6061 0000 0008 887
CURRENT ACCOUNT: 100000008887
BANK: INTESA SANPAOLO