(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Come and help. Missionary Action unites young people at the Redemptorist Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Campos dos Goytacazes (RJ), on Sunday morning the group goes out into the streets offering breakfast, as well as nourishing the message of the Gospel and listening and sharing their pains and desires: solidarity and construction of an inclusive society that reveals the face of a church in solidarity with the poor.
The Solidarity Breakfast project is a moment of listening and comforting to the homeless in the city of Campos dos Goytacazes. The young missionaries of the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, of the Redemptorist Fathers wake up early and prepare everything to go through the concentration camps of the homeless. In addition to giving the food, they listen to some of the stories as well. The Coordinator of Redemptorist Missionary Youth, Igor de Oliveira Ferreira, highlights the experience of caring for this group of the vulnerable people.
“Breakfast in solidarity in my life is not just a call from God, but a way that God teaches me, corrects me, sanctifies me. When we take care of others, God takes care of us. This is the experience of bringing breakfast to the neediest. Often, when we go to bring the coffee, some of them ask: “can you hug me” or “can you pray for me?” and this is a great blessing from God: to take not only material food, but also the word of God. The supportive breakfast, therefore, is a moment of my encounter with God, since we can see it in my brother”, tells Igor.
Lucas Dias talks about the importance of the Church being in solidarity and trying to reach out to the poor and the suffering and in this moment of pandemic the increase of families in social vulnerability that take refuge in the streets. They are exposed to Covid-19 because they cannot experience social distancing. Lucas reveals that it is important to take care of them.
So Solidarity Breakfast for me was a way of seeing the need for the other, of seeing that the church cannot be just the building but the church must be each of us and there we can see how much God’s mercy works in people. I could also see that we are nothing, we have nothing and that everything we have we must share. Often we have everything in our homes, we never lack daily bread and yet we complain while others don’t even have anything to wear. I was able to see how much I should get myself out of complacency, because there are many people waiting for our yes. What we have to offer, be it food or our own prayer, because our brothers and sisters on the street, not only need bread, clothing, but they also need our prayers for the greatest food, which is Jesus Christ himself. I am very grateful to God for sharing some of what I have,” Lucas points out.
Coordinator Igor de Oliveira Ferreira informs that the goal of this youth missionary action is to bring coffee to the homeless on Sundays in the early hours of the morning, where many are hungry due to difficulty in getting the food. In this sense, the project has consolidated over time thanks to the help of other members of the pastoral care of the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and some collaborators and has become not only a tool for taking material food, but also the Word of God, since many of them ask for prayers, a biblical verse and even a hug.