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Anna”€™s Greeting To Benedict

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Anna”€™s Greeting To Benedict

“€œChrist makes us feel at home everywhere,
all brothers and sisters because we are children of the same Father, and he
helps us to hope, conquering fears, mistrust and misunderstandings”€. With
strong conviction 160 young Africans who live in Verona recounted to Pope
Francis their efforts to integrate”€œwithout losing our identity”€, they
explained, or “€œour culture which is rooted in Christian faith”€.

Almost all of them are from Nigeria and Ghana, and they belong to St James Church. The
points of reference for this African Catholic community in the heart of Verona
are Fr Cornelius Ekubelem and Sr Mariapia Ciurletti, a Comboni sister who works in Verona for her African friends. “€œThey are immigrants”€, she said, “€œwho suffer each day fatigue and extreme stress because of the heavy labour they are forced to do, and also for
a lack of work”€. In effect, Sr Mariapia continued, “€œevery day we deal with
evictions, bills to pay and also a lot of humiliation on the street where those
who are unemployed try to scrape something together”€. However, the sister stated, “€œthey are men and women with strong faith who do not withdraw from the task of inculturation, trying to ensure that the colour of their skin no longer makes them feel different”€.

“€œSay hello to Pope Benedict for me!”€. The sincere request by Anna, a 12-year-old
mentally disabled girl who had come from Alberobello, deeply moved Francis, who
was close to the girl and immediately called to his side Archbishop Georg
asking the Prefect of the Papal Household to pass on the tender
greeting to the Pope emeritus.


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