The Church in Brazil has proposed these words of the Good Samaritan as a theme for the Fraternity/Sorority Campaign.
During this time of the pandemic the question arises: how can we best be neighbor to others?
We, priests and seminarians at the Vincentian Seminary of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, students of philosophy and theology, want to be neighbor to others, especially neighbor to those who are homeless and living on the streets.
Sixteen years ago, this house of formation became involved in a project called MAKON which cares for men and women living on the street (we minister to these individuals on a weekly basis). At the beginning of March, the mayor told us that the place where we served food to more than 200 people would no longer be available to us … and so our ministry was suspended.
We became concerned and desired to serve these individuals, our lords and masters, but unfortunately the pandemic made us change our plans and we entered into a state of obligatory isolation.
Yet calls for assistance continued and we looked for ways to provide help and to continue to work together with the Daughters of Charity (who administer the Saint Joseph’s House of Welcome), with those who administer the Movement of Street People and other governmental organizations. Thus, we have been able to provide lunch to a group of street dwellers each Saturday.
To be with the poor and listen to them, to become neighbor to them and attend to their pain and suffering is a demanding attitude that today demands boldness and detachment. Our community organized teams and we strive to serve not just a plate of food but to enable the individuals who approach us to experience the love of God as they receive a plate of food.
May God help us and make us strong and courageous to face the challenges of the present moment. May we all experience the protection of Mary, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and Saint Vincent de Paul, our model for following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Joelcio Sailbot, CM
Province of Curitiba
Congregation of the Mission