We are publishing only short pieces of news to share some of the updates that have been arriving from ‘Friends’ in various parts of Europe.
In Hungary, a widespread and ongoing initiative to assist refugees is being carried out together by associations such as the Society of the Sisters of Social Service, the Focolare Movement, a Jesuit group and the Community of Sant’Egidio. Through their collaboration, these communities provide food and clothing for those in need, while assisting them in their dealings with official services, language acquisition and accommodation and job search needs. In this way, together they bring relief to people in situations of great distress and restore hope for those who might have lost all hope (and in some cases the will to live). The Christian charity that these communities try to put into practice seeks out practical ways to facilitate the integration of refugees by mediating appropriate contact with young local nationals as well as with co-nationals. With respectful attention to different religious affiliations the communities have assisted Christian refugees in finding Catholic liturgical services in a language they understand. The experience which runs like a golden thread through the initiative is that of reciprocity: each person involved has something to offer – for example the more settled refugees can help the newly arrived. Once established, the group maintains relationships with the refugees even after they have been transferred elsewhere.
Marija Belošević, vice-president of the International Union of Catholic Esperantists (IKUE) informed us about an extensive information campaign carried out by the Union promoting the 2016 TfE Event in Munich through their journals and bulletins, the Radio Vatican programme broadcast in Esperanto, as well as through the official IKUE Facebook page. IKUE also spread the Esperanto version of texts of video messages recorded for the occasion by Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as well as the Event’s concluding message. Participants of several recent IKUE conferences – July 2016 in Nitra (Slovakia), September 2016 in Vranov, near Brno (Czech Republic), and a number of conferences in Croatia – were updated on the 2016 TfE Munich Event.
In November in Pazin (Istria, Croatia), approximately fifty participants from ten associations came together to plan for possible follow up initiatives to the 2016 TfE Event. Other similar meetings have been planned in Zagreb (Croatia).