Author: Maria Arias

John Paul II Foundation / Articles posted by Maria Arias (Page 3)

Chains on wrists, chains on feet, the chain as a leash. Chains have always represented the denial of the freedom we all cherish. Nelson Mandela wrote, "the chains imposed on one of us weigh on the shoulders of all." So in these days we have felt as a community, watching the images of Ilaria Salis being led and held in chains at the first hearing of the trial in which she is a defendant in Budapest, the weight of those chains, as an injustice, not because she is innocent of the crimes charged against her, but because it is not human to humiliate and treat a person that way. To us Italians those chains weigh even heavier because our feeling about human dignity is perhaps different today from that of the Hungarian people, because of our conception of the rule of law, because of our history, because of the achievements we have made, because of a Constitution that is based on the recognition and...

The "Service Center" desk, located at the offices of the John Paul II Foundation on Viale Roma 9, opens in the town of Pratovecchio-Stia on Tuesday, March 5. The result of a collaboration between the John Paul II Foundation, Caritas diocesana of Fiesole, Patronato ACLI of Arezzo and ACLI Service of Arezzo, this new counter will provide targeted services for migrants (residence permit, family reunification, citizenship and legal assistance), INPS social security practices (pension, disability, unemployment), and tax assistance (730 models, ISEE). The desk is part of a larger project, financed by the Bank of Italy, that provides support to vulnerable groups in the ways that the John Paul II Foundation has already successfully experimented in the Valdarno Aretino area. Opening hours will be dedicated to migrant services on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; the patronage office will be open every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; while the CAF will be available...

"The human capacity to carve out a niche for oneself, to secrete a shell, to erect around oneself a tenuous barrier of defense even in seemingly desperate circumstances is astounding and deserves a more in-depth study" (P. Levi, "If This is a Man. The Truce," 1958). The amazement at how human beings manage, in spite of everything, to survive in extreme contexts such as those of a war and somehow even "accept" its dramatic consequences becomes even greater when the object of our reflection is children. We wonder where they derive the strength to go through such an experience without permanently collapsing; yet, except in limited cases, children who have gone through the atrocities of war do not go "out of their minds." Most of the time, these children even seem to us better, more helpful, more mature than they are in "normal" situations. This incredible ability to adapt can lead us adults to underestimate the...

Daydreaming is the faculty of the mind that spontaneously recreates experiences and experiences, immersing itself in another reality. Children possess a vivid imagination; they invent characters and stories by experiencing them as if they were real. As they grow up they understand the difference between reality and the imaginary-a friendly world, a free, open land, harmony with nature. Sometimes reality seems threatening, intrusive, difficult to understand and deal with. But when reality does NOT seem but IS, what tools come to the rescue of the imagination, the dream? Where to wander with the mind, retreat to an imaginary world and find refuge from the fears, loneliness, dangers that are about to extinguish any relationship with what was familiar to us until yesterday? This brief reflection accompanied us on the difficult, uncertain, challenging path of helping the children of Bethlehem today in danger and tomorrow likely victims of the reality that is erasing all imaginary fantasy and smiles or made orphans by violence...

Father Michael Piccirillo (1944-2008), in addition to being a Franciscan friar of the Custody of the Holy Land, was a world-renowned archaeologist. In 2018 an initiative bearing his name was launched in Bethlehem: the Piccirillo Handicraft Center. Located a stone's throw from Nativity Square, the center makes its workshops available to artisans in the area. That's right, because Bethlehem is famous for olive wood, mother-of-pearl and ceramic handicrafts. A tradition brought to the Holy Land five centuries ago by Franciscan friars, with the aim of creating employment for the Christian minority. An artistic work - numerous Bethlehemite mother-of-pearl objects can be found in the world's most prestigious museums - that has to contend with the war events that drive pilgrims away from the Holy Land. One of today's many challenges is passing on this artisanal savoir-faire to new generations. This is one of the goals of the project "Piccirillo Handicraft...

Bethlehem is the city where baby Jesus was born, it is the city of children, even for us, who when we enter to visit the Basilica of the Nativity feel the excitement, which we felt as children when Christmas was approaching. Today we struggle to breathe the air of Christmas, which all year round accompanies life in Bethlehem. Five months after the beginning of the atrocious and inhumane conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has seen the death and injury of thousands and thousands of children, our children are also paying the consequences of this war. They have been deprived, from the rhythm of everyday life. They are locked together with their families inside the city with the inability to get out of the city and fear has settled in their hearts, fear when they heard the missiles pass over the city of Bethlehem, the sound is so loud that it terrifies young and old alike. Try to...

The John Paul II Foundation, together with the Villa Pettini Family Point, the Fraternity of the Visitation and the Ant, has launched the project "The Villa Pettini table: a community that welcomes and includes" for the social integration of people living in socio-economic hardship, particularly migrants in the area. The project, funded by the Tuscany Region and supported by the Valdarno Conference of Mayors, has already begun in previous months with preparatory activities, but from February 14, 2024, it will enter its final operational phase. This includes the opening of a desk aimed at offering services of employment guidance, housing support and contribution, legal assistance as well as cultural mediation. In addition, job training pathways are planned. The counter will be available, by appointment, every Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Giglio Oratory (Via Michelangelo,1 Montevarchi), the Don Bosco Oratory (Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, 2 San Giovanni V.no) or at the Caritas headquarters (Piazza Masaccio,...

The John Paul II Foundation, which has been working in the Middle East for more than twenty-five years, seeks four young people for community service. The countries of focus are Lebanon and Jordan. In Lebanon we are sought for figures for a project aimed at improving the socioeconomic and environmental conditions of rural communities, enhancing natural resources through sustainable models of consumption and development. In Jordan we are seeking figures for a project to support services for hearing-impaired children in the areas of inclusive education and health. The commitment required will be for 12 months, with an average of 25 hours of service per week. Interested youth can send in their applications until 2 p.m. Feb. 15, 2024. The Call for Applications can be read in full at https://www.scelgoilserviziocivile.gov.it/leggi-il-bando/il-testo/. More information can be obtained by writing to s.ferrari@fondazionegiovannipaolo.org. You can submit your application, online only, at https://domandaonline.serviziocivile.it/. For each country you will find the project summary sheet by clicking the links below: "White Helmets for.

Hi, I'm Mara, a Universal Civil Service volunteer with the John Paul II Foundation in Lebanon. Of all the places in the world, I chose Lebanon. Because Lebanon is inspiring and puts before you constant surprises. It is a country full of contrasts, luxurious buildings next to dilapidated houses, festive nights in Beirut and teeming alleys in the traditional souks of Saida and Tripoli, snow-capped mountains looking out to the shimmering sea. A place where nothing works properly but everything goes on nonetheless. Lebanon is where, thanks to the myriad challenges and daily inconveniences (from tremendously slow connectivity, to lack of electricity or running water, from unpredictable geopolitical situations to constant uncertainties, just to name a few), I learn to adapt to the most changing circumstances. It is where I find new resources in myself as I continue to explore the country and immerse myself in its culture, traditions and infinite identities. The Service...

The John Paul II Foundation, which has been working in the Middle East for over twenty-five years and is recognized by both the State of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, joins the appeal promoted by the national network AssisiPaceJustice. On Sunday, February 4, it will be present in the Palazzo Vecchio and invites its friends and supporters to take part. Just as we wholeheartedly participated last October 23 in the silent torchlight proclaimed by Father Bernardo Gianni. A moment shared with many thousands of people of all faiths and different political affiliations but united by asking for peace. United by walking together, side by side, carrying a candle to light the way. The Foundation joins today, as it has always done in the past, in calling for the realization of the "two peoples in two states" solution, the only way to lasting peace in the Middle East, without any more delay or hesitation. Today in these dark days we are living through, the identification of...

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