“I imagined that I would meet people different from me, because they are in a different reality from the one I live in my day to day. With a different look from the way I see the world. But, every day, I am marked by the experience of meeting people very similar to me. In social conditions different from mine, but with a heart like mine. Just like mine.” (Joyce Gonçalves)
This is the testimony given by the missionary, consecrated of the Shalom Catholic Community, Joyce Gonçalves, who for a few weeks, has lived the experience of assisting the homeless in the project of human promoting Shalom Friend of the Poor.
With other volunteers, scattered in different locations in the city, she has been working to raise awareness of the necessary and possible care, in this time of Pandemic, for those who live on the streets.
Joyce shares that at the beginning of the project, as the first task of her new mission, she toured the neighborhood to map and get to know the reality experienced in that place, and thus gather the right information and guidance for the audience she would meet there.
At the place of reception, homeless people can bathe, receive clean food and clothes and clear and consistent guidelines on how to protect themselves from the new Coronavirus, such as social detachment, not sharing personal items and even being away on time sleeping, even on the street floor. These initiatives can help them understand the danger and find measures, within their realities, to better live it, or at least, live it with more dignity.
”Although this project does a lot, materially, for them, the first good they receive is to be transformed into men and women friends. As a project of friendship with us and with God. A life-changing project. Many have distributed food, but we want a differential. We want to look at them, respect them, give them dignity and love them in a Christian way ”, says Joyce.
According to the volunteer, this is an emergency project for that specific time of the pandemic, but it is not simply a social aid, but a meeting, which allows people to be treated as friends, welcomed as friends.
“Those who have a fixed place of residence, but are unable to provide their food, receive a basic basket so that they do not have to go out every day to pick up food at the reception place set up by the community. Others, who want to be served by the isolation program offered by the government, are also guided by Joyce, who calmly and giving them complete freedom to accept or refuse, knowing the difficult decision that isolation is for those who do not have a fixed place of residence. stop, helps them to understand the importance of all this care.” (Joyce Gonçalves)
The missionary concludes her testimony by sharing the various joys she finds in being part of the Project.
“I share the joy of giving my life. Out of gratitude to God, be here. It is a great gift from God, to have a life to give. And that is all I have to give. My life. Knowing the risks and concerns that surround all this, but it is a joy because I join Christ’s own offering movement. Another joy is to realize that I am not simply giving, but also receiving a lot. Joy for receiving new friends, for having my prayer as consecrated and celibate, permeated by new faces and names. Joy of realizing that I have new brothers. Brothers that I not only feed with bread, guidance, or hygiene products, but food of friendship, within my heart and in my prayer. Joy to see the brothers who agree to go to the shelter. To see the hope that they find in the possibility of not being on the streets, of choosing to accept one more chance, given by God.” (Joyce Gonçalves)
Translation: Beatriz Duarte
“The poor are precious in the eyes of God, because they do not speak the language of the self.”
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