Adapted by Robert Lalonde
Coming from eight of the 17 offices of ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) around the world, volunteers say they are “extremely happy” with missionary exhibition sponsored by Kirche in Not in Rio de Janeiro where the 28th edition of World Youth Day is currently taking place.
The exhibition happens at largo da Carioca, one of the most privileged places of Rio de Janeiro downtown, under the title: “We are all missionaries”. The aim of the organizers is to show the youth and the adults who visit the event that by living out charity, praying and spreading the Word of God among those who in need, all of us can be true missionaries of Christ. The exhibition starts with Mass and the Holy Eucharist remains exposed throughout the day, so visitors may pray and them leave their messages to Jesus, expressing their willingness to be missionaries.
Clemence Duquesne, a young lady from France, currently working as a fundraiser for ACN at its bureau in Paris, affirmed that the exposition “is being extremely moving”. “There are many volunteers helping us, and a lot of them are Brazilians which helps making ACN better known. The Church must remain alive and for this, it needs financial support because in certain countries, Catholics do not have the means to sustain their priests and their churches and that is why it is so important that people from wealthier countries may help poorer countries and thus, to be radiant about their faith”.
Theresa Englaender from Germany, a member of ACN’s staff in Frankfurt, went to Rio to help at the exposition and participate on World Youth Day 2013. “My task here”, she says, “is to invite people passing by to come and see the exposition for themselves and I think that there are quite a lot of people coming. Today, an American woman came spontaneously to me after visiting the exposition and told me she was so moved and touched with what she saw that she simply came to me and gave me a hug”.
“The love of Our Father is already in us. We only have to pass it on and there are no borders, no frontiers nor limits between people to bring God’s love into their lives. We just need to love our neighbor”. In Theresa’s opinion, all Catholics “are supposed to transmit the love of Our Father and it doesn’t take much on our part: just an open heart, our own hands and the willingness to do good”.
“We have 600 000 benefactors and all of them pray for the people they are helping. I believe this prayer is even more important than every cent given to us, because at the end it helps the donors themselves to live out solidarity and gives them strength to perform their activities. That is priceless”.
A few other movements and Church communities supported by ACN in Brazil are also represented in the exposition. For example, coming from Sicily, Italy, Francesco is volunteering at the stand of the Carmelite Messengers of the Holy Spirit, a young and energetic community of nuns and brothers who work with the poor and the sick in Brazil. In a conversation with ACN International, this young Italian man shares he was deeply impacted by seeing the poverty of the homeless in the streets of Rio but also amazed with the enthusiasm of the Brazilian young Catholics.
“Faith is what truly makes us rich”, says Francesco, “faith and love for Christ, and for the poor, is what actually makes us happy, not the money”. “Here I found out that the greatest possible gesture of love is to give up one’s own for the others. This is truly an incredible experience”, he concludes.
ACN’s international exposition started on Monday, 22nd and will be open until Saturday, July 27th.