Although it’s not particularly catchy, “Picnic of the generations” was a fitting name for our community’s excursion last Saturday to Piaseczno, a town on the outskirts of Warsaw. It’s a good name, because at least three generations (maybe four, though, depending on how you count) of us took part in it: Our special guests, the elderly folks from the Solec nursing home that our community visits every week (maybe four, though); our still-young community people and two of the newest Sant’Egidio members – my Emilka and Ewa and Marcin’s Olga, both born just over three months ago (and just four days apart).
Despite the heavy clouds that hung over Warsaw in the morning, when our picnic started it was a warm (but not overly hot) day with lots of sunshine. When it ended, almost immediately a huge storm broke out. It was nice of God to be so accomodating. Perhaps he knew what a fun picnic it would’ve been. Continue reading
Text: Maria Gerchak; Photos: Cornelia Paasch, Karl Opuchlich, Katharina Goldbach, Maria Gerchak.
Having a big family all over the world is the best thing that can happen to you. I realized it this weekend during the “No More Walls” Youth for Peace meeting in Berlin with young people from Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and France. Having this kind of family gives you confidence, hope and power to change the world. It gives the strength we need to fulfill the task and the promise we gave ourselves these days: to tear down the walls in our world. Walls of all kinds: between rich and poor, europeans and refugees, between citizens of different countries, ethnic groups and many other visible and invisible walls. Continue reading
I keep thinking about this year’s June.
For the first time I took part in Ecumenical Liturgy of the Martyrs, organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio in the church of St. Martin in Warsaw’s old town. Members of seven Christian churches (Roman Catholic Church, Greek Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Reformed Church, Polish Catholic Church, Mariavite Church and Evangelical Methodist Church) stood together around the altar. They gathered to pray for peace and to remember the contemporary martyrs from such countries like Syria, Nigeria or Pakistan. It was one of very few opportunities to hear their names in a different context than sensational news and make they don’t disappear from our memory as quickly as from the headlines. Continue reading
Тext: Маria Herchak, Berlin
Photos: Cleo Herré , Marcel Luge, Maria Herchak
I moved to Berlin 3 months ago. It is a big and an extremely diverse city. Sometimes I have the feeling, I’m walking in the streets of Istanbul, or New York, or soviet parts of Kiev, or in a little German village…
Text: Kacper Pietraszewski, Warsaw
Since we played charades together in Cracow, I’ve started to think about the unity. Well, how could it be that Poles were playing with Ukrainians and Russians? They didn’t argue or fight, but spent time together just having fun. Sometimes, when they didn’t understand each other, they were looking for different ways to tell something important or for the words they have in common. Continue reading
Text: Maria Herchak
Even when you think, there is no way out, you have to go on. If what you do is right, you’ll always manage to find a way.
There is one story, I think everyone should know. It’s a story of hope, unconditional love and solidarity.
When our friends from St. Egidio in Kiev met Nikolai, he was near to death. A couple of unreasonably demented and violent people decided, it would be fun to burn a homeless man, sleeping in a building, hiding from the January frost… Continue reading
Text: Maria Herchak
Calligraphy: Taras Makar
Have I ever thought I could begin my day with reading news from the front? Could I ever imagine reading every day new names of fallen soldiers of my country? Has it ever come to my mind that I could lose someone I love in war?
Two years ago we lived a “normal” (eastern-European) life: struggling with omnipresent corruption and unfairness, with absurd bureaucracy and poverty and fighting for freedom of speech. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, so to say. But never ever would we imagine that war could be so close.
So many things happened in one year. And even more things changed in our minds and hearts. Children loosing fathers, mothers loosing children, families loosing each other… Who needs all this?! Continue reading
Text by Anastasia Novitskaya, Moscow
Photos by Melisa Savina, Moscow
On the 7th of January 200 homeless people became happier and felt love and care.
The Christmas dinner which passes every year is not just an event when some volunteers try to feed the homeless. No! It is a gaily day when we’re meeting old friends, getting new one and becoming closer to each other.
Author: Piotr Pokorski, Warsaw
20th December AD2014, 3:00 pm. Here comes the starting signal: “We’re letting them in.” I, alongside four people accompanying me, are standing at the table, waiting. Second time in this place, first one in this role. Looks like nothing, yet I’m nervous and excited at the same time. “Will it be alright?” I ask myself as people pass by and I wait for the right ones.
Such was the beginning of the Christmas supper with the poor. The first one I’ve been to was a year ago. I was a guitarist in a choir. Astounded, happy, yet quite insecure at the beginning (my first experience like this, to remind!). Even happier and more astounded when I came back home. The image I noted: “All of us, ‘rich’ and poor, celebrating Christmas side by side.” Continue reading
Here, in Kiev, as in hundreds of cities around the world, we started this year with a call for peace.
It was a very special march for peace: for the first time we were carrying among tablets with names of areas where there are conflicts, the one with our country. Continue reading