Children know how to express solidarity!

The space in front of the altar in the chapel of Slovenian pastoral center in Brussels was filled with children. Priest Dr. Zvone Štrubelj, who runs the center for four years now, had prepared a special theme for his First Communion pupils.

They were discussing about a word ‘table’. We were invited to join in the conversation.

The children were all excited. Each of them was able to tell something about the table, even the most quiet and shy ones.

Table – community center

Slovenski pastoralni center Bruselj
Ana Marija raised hands and surprised everyone.

What does a word table tell you? Why are we usually happy when we are gathered at the table? What purposes can a table serve for?

Questions were lined up, children were raising hands, their innocent answers came to life:

A place where we eat and drink … time that we spend together … a place, where we relax and take time to talk … place, where we celebrate … where we are having fun … 

To the point, exactly!

Jean Vanier once said that the table should be a centerpiece of every family and every community.

Time when having meals is a special part of the day, when people meet, enjoy food and share all what we carry in our hearts. When having meal, the body relaxes and we can therefore dedicate each other all the best and most beautiful parts of ourselves.

Finally, Jesus sat down with disciples at the table, broke the bread and shared it with them. Thus He showed us in the most beautiful way how He remains with us as long as we remain together, breaking pieces of bread which we share to one another.

We reminded the children that there are many places on Earth where children do not gather around the table since they have nothing to eat.

And then Ana Marija, a nine-year old girl, raised her hand and shocked everyone present…

The testimony at the Slovenian community in Brussels

Zvone Štrubelj invited us to Belgium already at time when we were still in Lithuania. He wanted us to present Slovenians in Brussels (young families and individuals who found a job here) our testimony of our current path, and the values in which we believe in Operando society.

Now, when we are departing to the Philippines, Brussels seems to be an excellent starting point and we were pleased to accept his invitation.

Varied and diverse day

slovenski pastoralni center Bruselj
Speaking with marriage couples on how to stay open to another and confess our vulnerabilities without fear.

That Sunday, when Slovenes arrived to the Pastoral Center (not only from Brussels, from Luxemburg as well), Silva and I had several tasks to do.

We have prepared the introductory talk for a group of spouses who meet once a month. This time, exceptionally, they have met in Slovenian pastoral center, but otherwise they meet at their homes each month hosting at one family.

They talk about the challenges of married life, open interesting topics, share experiences, help each other and thus deepen mutual relations.

During holy Mass and afterwards, we presented the first leg of our trip around Europe; from Italy, France and Spain to the Ukraine and Lithuania. And we talked to the children which touched us significantly.

Birthday gift

‘Yes, please, share your thoughts…’ I said to the girl in the front row who raised her hand and patiently waited for her turn.

‘Once my friend from school invited us to her birthday,’ started Ana Marija, ‘and asked us to bring her some money for presents. However it was not for her. She wanted to donate the money to poor people with have none.’

Of course we were surprised and Zvone could not stay indifferent too. Children were confirming one after another that they themselves attended this birthday party as well.

Solidarity is still alive!

slovenski pastoralni center Bruselj
Rudi bunny is waiting for some friends. Is he heading alone to the Philippines?

It is  nice to see how this European school (attended by children whose parents are employed by the European institutions in Brussels) and wealthy families maintain the values of solidarity.

And best of all that this incentive comes from the hearts of the children who otherwise live a very decent live.

‘Perfect!’ me and Silva replied, ‘It is about time to introduce Rudi, who is accompanying us to the Philippines.’

They were all gazing curiously at this little plush bunny in Silva’s hands.

‘You know, there are a lot of poor children in the world, who can’t afford a toy like this. Rudi bunny was a present by a boy from Slovenia. He wanted us to deliver Rudi to a child who can not afford toys at our next missionary in Manila.’

Home mission

‘And now,’ we continued, ‘everyone of you has a special home mission. When you arrive home, take a look at your toy box. Choose a toy which you no longer need and bring it back here. We will be delivering these toys to Philippine children in need. They will for sure be joyous to receive them!’

How do you think we managed?

Three days later, we could take this following photo:

The home mission was a success and we are departing to our mission in Manila carrying the most beautiful part of Slovenia in our backpacks!

God is working, right? Operando.

Nace Volčič

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