New Humanity Movement

Social Harmony and Art

From 18th to 27th October, Giuseppe Dipietro was in Brazil, in the San Paolo region. He is a member of the commission for social harmony of the New Humanity movement. He took part in the first convention of social organisations of Latin America that are inspired by the values of universal brotherhood, proposed by the Focolare Movement.

We contacted Giuseppe by telephone at his house, in Ispica, in the province of Ragusa:

 The first impressions of your voyage…

“It was a unique experience in my life: for sure, I did not go as a tourist, and I did not visit all  Brazil, it is huge; I met persons, I cultivated relationships with persons from all over Latin America. I discovered a world previously unknown to me…”

At Vargem Grande Paulista you participated in this first convention of the social organisations of the Focolare Movement. What did you discover? 

“First of all, I listened, they were days of deep listening. The convention sought to “network” the 25 social realities of Brazil, and then the whole of Latin America. But a network is not automatic, it is not formed out of nothing. It is necessary to get to know each other, and this is the first thing that we did. We listened to each other, but it was an active listening, it was a true methodology of work.”

What is the next step?

“This listening has revealed not only the vitality of these associations, but also the solitude lived by many of these realities, the sense of dismay, doubt, and sometimes helplessness in the difficult situations faced by social work. The next step was to recognise ourselves among equals, and rediscover each other with our own difference, identity and vocation. We felt that we were not alone, but “networked” trying to resolve problems together. This new courage generated new synergies of ideas and concrete proposals on the ground, and often gave rise to solutions to problems that were not previously envisaged. To put it very briefly, this is the work we sought to carry out.” 

Why do the majority of these associations work in the education sector?

“This did not happen by chance, but by a definite choice, oriented towards the common good. The Focolare Movement works on the ground, keeping in view the social reality of the place. This method revealed the necessity of activity in the fields of formation and instruction as necessary instruments to give hope to the whole continent. This is also evident as where there is social inequality, the youths and children are the most exposed.”

Can you indicate a social organisation that struck you in a particular way?

La Fazenda de Esperanca alone has 25 entities in the whole of Brazil, and more houses in Germany and Italy, and other parts of the world. They carry out extraordinary work to rehabilitate youths with problems of drug dependency. They help them become active at work and recover their dignity. It is an immense job, rewarded by the visit of Pope Benedict during his visit to Brazil in 2007.”

Have you carried out some sort of survey?

“Uniredis, the society that organised the convention, also carried out the survey that comprised a study and a programme of visits to the various realities. The Uniredis is the working group that gathered the information on all the associations in Brazil. Another group gathered information on other countries of Spanish America. Both groups then interacted, got together, and produced a “map” of all the active associations that have a large impact on the social reality of the various territories.”

What was the result of all this work?

“It is clear that guidelines are necessary to help each reality understand the way forward, how to work for universal brotherhood. It will produce a methodology that will strengthen the network and increase the success of the projects. It will be necessary to use information technology to dialogue, so that the various associations that are very distant geographically, may interact in real time.” 

What, in your opinion, will be the contribution that the New Humanity Movement will give to the work and life of these associations?

“It is a contribution in two directions, as New Humanity is the social arm of the Focolare Movement, and carries the charism of fraternity in the environments where these associations operate. The Movement sees the Latin American continent as particularly suited to the development of a harmonious social ethos, because it is the emblematic continent where social inequality is alive with all the consequences of which we are aware. Therefore, on the one hand, New Humanity can support and encourage the work of these realities, making them feel at home, recognised, interacted, and giving them the vitality to move ahead. On the other hand, New Humanity, and the whole Focolare Movement, will find positive effects on the social harmony of the territories, and will take forward the idea and experience that a united world is possible. And also, in my opinion, New Humanity will find new impetus in youths, who in these countries are particularly sensitive to social work. I have seen in Brazil, youths who are enriched with concrete initiatives, ideas, projects, hopes, and we should not disappointment them. These youths are the first persons we should encourage and support.”

What you propose is a “service” that is very actual, in line with the thinking of Pope Francis.

“Oh yes, it really so.  As I have just said, social inequality is still very large in Latin America, and fraternity could be the solution. The Gospel is an answer. But for this the happen, “me” and the “other” must be fused into “us”. Every person who lives the Gospel must feel part of social work, even if it is carried out by others who have the skills or vocation for this work. We are different, and cannot all do the same things. But all of us can have this love for the “lesser” namely these associations who work for those whom we inappropriately call the “least”. We should work more and together with youths, families, parishes and active parts of the city to intercept the needs of society, in such a way that these associations feel they are working in a larger project.”

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