Putting the last first

Author: Reynaldo Rodrigo Román Díaz, SVD
Subject: Nr. 42-43 of the 18 General Chapter Statement
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: SVD Spiritual Animation Coordinator
Year: 2021

Hello. I am Reynaldo Rodrigo Román Díaz. I am Mexican and I am currently working in the Italian province, where I am the JPIC coordinator.

In our intercultural mission ad extra, the XVIII General Chapter exhorts us that in our missionary work we focus on putting the last first. It is in caring for the poor and abandoned that we are truly serving the Lord Jesus. As a Divine Word Missionary, it is all clear to me that by doing work with the little ones, we do it with the Lord.

I remember some years when I was working in Costa Rica when a Nicaraguan migrant family knocked on the door of the parish asking for food. When I spoke to her, he told me that they had walked all day to reach our parish to ask for a refuge. When I saw this image, I was so surprised because I saw the children who were tired and the mother who was tired and above all who were hungry and wanted to rest. I wondered what I should do so that these people could have a better life. That is why I began to consider working with refugees and marginalized people who represent the least in society. Missionaries of the divine word teach us that working with the least in our mission is part of our mission. When I was in Costa Rica, I started working with refugees and migrants to find both physical and legal structures for them to have a more dignified life. Working with organizations that could help them and above all that could teach us about the Divine Word, especially me who had no knowledge of what human mobility means.

Here in Italy, I work at caritas Vicenza, where we are a team of people who work in the office for refugees and migrants. My job is to accompany refugees seeking asylum in Italy. Above all, take the process of integration into Italian society. It is interesting to know their stories, to know their sacrifices, but above all those types of marginalization that they have suffered both as human trafficking and different interracial conflicts that they have in their countries of origin. My job is mainly to be the bridge of the two cultures; African cultures and Italian western culture. For me, it means putting the last first, because migrants at this moment are the society represents the most marginalized group, even in this time of the COVID pandemic. They are the people who suffer the most because they have to mobilize due to socioeconomic problems. The XVIII General Chapter teaches us that we have to be present in the last. In this case of human mobility, we can carry out our mission. Not only accompanying them spiritually, but knowing that they can carry out a more dignified job and work legally in the country. Thanks.

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