During the week before the Canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII, members of Shalom Community from many countries, took part in a pilgrimage to Rome where they shared an unforgettable experience of being part of the Holy Church’s family and also as one big family Shalom.
Among many other pilgrims, some of them had the providential opportunity to meet Pope Francis face to face. Each of these encounters was a great joy to, as a Community, once again renew the love and fidelity for the Holy Father and to offer their lives in the service of Mother Church.
This is how they met the Pope:
Vitor Aragão, Seminarian: “It was a great grace! I had the opportunity to get very close to the Holy Father. When he arrived, he spoke to each one of us seminarians with his characteristic humility. At the end of the celebration I said to the Holy Father in a mixed of Italian and Spanish that the young people of Shalom Community loved him and he replied saying ‘grazie’!”
Daniel and Luciane Ramos, Married couple: “The Lord surprised us through the meeting with Pope Francis. It was raining a lot contradicting the weather forecast. We asked the Lord to make the rain stop, but in His designs of love a ‘no’ in fact means a ‘yes’ to something even deeper (…) Followed by the Pope’s request, they invited us to go to Paul VI Room as he always thinks about the poor and the sick and did not wanted them to wait in the rain. As we were there waiting, suddenly the Pope himself came!! He stood there for about 45 minutes greeting each one of the sick before heading to Piazza San Pietro (…) As he saw us he said “Ah, the Brazilians from Shalom!” We introduced ourselves and he asked where we lived. We said we were missionaries living in France and then we shared a little about my wife’s illness, Luciane, who has a brain tumour. He look at her with so much love as if he felt her pain, it was true compassion – i.e. to suffer the same passion. He put his hand over her head and prayed in silence and then he told us twice that he would be praying for us. He recommended a special blessing during this time of trial. Luciane shared the role of John Paul II in her life during this time, giving her comfort and teaching her how to walk again but most of all how to live Love during this time. He tenderly looked at the picture of John Paul II as if they were talking. Again he greeted us and left.”
Pedro Junior and Kaline Fonseca, Married Couple: “During offertory the words of Pope Francis were simple, very simple and human. First, before we said anything, he jumped ahead speaking in our own language with a big smile: ‘Bom dia!’ We said we were a missionary family from Shalom Community and that after a period of mission in France and Italy we were going back to our country. We thanked him with all our hearts for his life and mission and, at the end, we introduced him to our daughters saying that Clara made him a drawing. He said ‘Obrigado!’ and repeated in Italian ‘Grazie!’ After that we offered in the Lord’s altar the bread, sign of sacrifice, of life offering and of abandonment. We carried in our hearts so many dearly brothers, so many lives offered, so many evangelization projects (…) We carried the whole Community there with us!”
By Emanuela Cardoso