The 48th version of Loppiano’s May 1st event entitled “#daretocare” or “#dare to take care” has just concluded. Held entirely live on YouTube from the stage of Loppiano’s auditorium, it was broadcast in seven languages (Italian, English, French, Croatian, Portuguese, Arabic and Spanish), garnering thousands of views.
The classic components of theatrical performances, music, songs, choreographies and testimonies from Italy and the world over, showcased in Focolare’s little city, held a particular resonance in this era of the pandemic. The youth’s message resounded louder than ever: “No matter what events affect our lives, it is up to us to decide how we will react: to have the strength to go beyond our sufferings, even beyond ourselves, to dare to take care of the other and to go ahead, together.” It was a wake-up call to emerge from the torpor of life, to go beyond discomfort, fear, isolation and the limits of relationships mediated by the screen or social media. The youth challenged themselves and their peers with a call to be resilient and there, on stage, they backed up their challenge with real life testimonies.
There was Issam, who risked dying three times under the bombings in his Syria. He arrived in Italy thanks to the Humanitarian Corridors Project. Today he lives in Marino (RM) and works in the widespread reception center of the cooperative “One City is Not Enough”, where he helps others to integrate. He explains: “Change is like looking at an open sea: a sea that is scary and completely transforms our life. I was able to understand that I am not alone, which is why I wanted to lend a hand to this reality, as one day they gave to me.”
Joseph comes from Sierra Leone and is 28 years old. Kidnapped from his home by a group of guerrillas, he was forced to become a child soldier. For several years he saw and experienced unspeakable things. Then, having found his mother who he believed dead, and having managed to escape, he was able to start living again, and go beyond the desire for revenge. Today, he is studying at Sophia University Institute in Loppiano: “In life you must never stop,” he says. “When you think it’s over, it’s just the right time to think about how to do something useful for your life and for the world.”
Agata is a young woman from Loppiano who this year, with other friends, joined the #daretocare campaign, promoted by the young people of the Focolare, creating a local committee. Together, they did not allow themselves to be stopped by the fear of contagion, but looked around and began to love concretely, giving life to “AiutiAMOci”, a food collection entity offering support and solidarity for fragile families in need, in collaboration with other associations and realities in the area: “This experience has succeeded in uniting not only the various associations and movements but has also embedded in our hearts the desire and joy of continuing the service by collaborating with Caritas or with the Food Bank. Together is more beautiful!”
These are the experiences, the precious realities to be saved and symbolically carried forward in a time capsule, to humanity of 2031. This message was further enriched by two words given them by Focolare president, Margaret Karram: “courage” and “care.” Courage because: “Nothing can ever change if we don’t start, if we don’t take risks, if we don’t roll up our sleeves and, I would add, if we are not willing to continue to commit ourselves ever more decisively and actively for the greater good.” And then: “care” because: “We increasingly feel the need to give an answer to all this precisely by taking care of each other, sharing skills, resources, goods. Only in this way will we be saved. This is an extremely potent vaccine because it heals loneliness, indifference, distance, and more concrete needs such as hunger and the need for work, the need for peace. Love, in fact, triggers in those touched by our care, the desire to reciprocate and spread antibodies that set in motion a new culture, the culture of care, the seeds of a new world.”
Thus, even in times of a pandemic, the simple revolution brought forward by Loppiano’s May 1st, does not stop.