3 questions to Sr Marinei about the Fratello mass in Rome on Sunday dec. 13th
1/ Can you present yourself in a few words?
Name: Marinei Pessanha Alves,
Member of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate – PIME
Before coming to Rome to serve in our General Council, I had worked for almost 18 years in Hong Kong as a missionary. It is already 10 years that I am in Rome; and, besides the work of animation of our group of nuns, I share some time doing voluntary service at Caritas Fr. Luigi Di Liegro Hostel and Refectory for the poor and homeless in central Rome. It is been 8 years that I do this service and I am very happy about it since I have learned so much from the people I met there.
2/ Could you tell me about the sunday mass in Rome with the Pope? How did you live it, how did you feel, what seems you the most important?
Sunday 13 December, we all met together at the Basilica of St. Peter’s for the Mass and the Angelus with the Pope. I never thought to see the majestic papal basilica packed by such simple and poor people, and in an atmosphere of great joy. I had the perception of living a moment of great grace and of particular historical importance for the life of the Church. I was extremely happy to be there and celebrate with Pope Francis and with these brothers and sisters socially marginalized of all Europe the Eucharist. He was deeply affected their concentration and spirit of prayer, although they were elated and deeply moved to be there, in the basilica of s. Pietro, a place where so many of them would never have thought to see with their own eyes! It was particularly significant when Pope Francis has expressed the wish that in the Church there was a’ world day of the poor ‘. I immediately connected her words to the request made by the president of Lazare to the Holy Father during the papal audience two days before it was there in the church a global day of the poor. And, just out the Apostolic Letter for the closing of the ‘Mercy and Wretched’ Jubilee, I have seen with great joy that the Pope has accepted this request.
3/ Do you already know how you, your congregation and Christians in Italy could live the World Day of the Poor enacted by the Pope?
Well, I can say that, first of all, for me it will certainly be a day for prayer and reflection on the causes of widespread poverty and also how I can make daily choices and change my life style so as to be more in solidarity with the poor. As for our Congregation, we will certainly try to animate our Sisters to be more focused on the poor in our mission as well as in the work for justice and peace and a more egalitarian world.
I also think that as Christians it would be nice to carry out initiatives on that special Day in which we do not simply do things ‘for’ the poor but ‘with’ the poor and that they themselves may be the protagonists of the events. Let us give them voice and face. Let them share their life stories and their hopes. They are not only numbers! They are not simply social problems! Let them present themselves for the richness they are and challenge our securities and confort.
It will be very nice if this celebration becomes an Interreligious and ecumenical celebration. We should work together with all like-minded people! It can be a very powerful witness towards a better world.