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Rome, March 18-20, 2024 ITALIAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE National Office for Social Communications Permanent Council Final Communiqué- excerpt Mediterranean Youth Council. An update was presented about the activities of the Mediterranean Youth Council, a sign-work born following the Meeting of Mediterranean Bishops and Mayors (Florence, Feb. 23-27, 2022). Strongly desired and supported by the CEI, the project aims to care for the spiritual dimension, strengthen pastoral action in the face of today's challenges and build fraternal relationships. As part of the Council's work, a meeting of the Executive, accompanied by Msgr. Baturi, with Msgr. Mariano Crociata, President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union, and with Dr. Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, is scheduled for April 3 and 4 in Brussels. Then, on April 16, the Council's headquarters will be inaugurated in Fiesole. Also under construction is the web portal of the Mediterranean Youth Council, where they will be...

We have to say God bless Don Giovanni Sassolini, one of the inspirers and founders of our Foundation. As we extend our embrace to the family members, we extend a grateful and thankful thought to Don Giovanni for his service and for the good he wished the Holy Land and the John Paul II Foundation....

"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...

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 situation in Israel and Palestine is very complex, difficult, getting worse with each passing day. The war is spreading to the whole Middle East. We must strongly call for peace, for an immediate cease-fire," these were the first words of Father Ibrahim Faltas, vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, speaking in Florence at an evening of reflection on the situation in the Middle East. The meeting sponsored by Alessandro Tonelli, president of the Rotary Club of Fiesole and Andrea Bottinelli, president of the John Paul II Foundation was attended by many Rotary Clubs in the Florence area. More than 200 people crowded the auditorium of the Innovation Center, built on the Florentine lungarni, recovering the ancient Granaio dell'Abbondanza, built in 1695 for Grand Duke Cosimo III dei Medici. Participants in the evening included the secretary general of the Chamber of Commerce, Giuseppe Salvini, entrepreneur Giammarco Piacenti, the president of the Order of Journalists of Tuscany, Giampaolo Marchini, the director of the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation,...

Civil Service is an opportunity for training, personal growth and education in active citizenship that contributes to the social, economic, environmental and cultural development of the countries where it takes place. We invite you to carefully read the full text of the Call for Proposals at the following link to discover all the benefits and opportunities https://www.scelgoilserviziocivile.gov.it/leggi-il-bando/il-testo/ The John Paul II Foundation is offering 4 young people between the ages of 18 and 28 the chance to have a meaningful experience as volunteer workers in Lebanon and Jordan. In Jordan, the project focuses on supporting services for hearing-impaired children in the areas of inclusive education and health. While in Lebanon, the goal of the project is to contribute to the improvement of socio-economic and environmental conditions in rural communities by enhancing natural resources through sustainable consumption and development models. The commitment required will be 12 months, with an average of 25 hours of service per week. Interested young people can send their applications to...

New dates for the Foreigner Support and Information Service are available! The desk offers social-work support, housing and legal guidance. In particular, it is possible to request: - Assistance on residence permits and family reunification. - Support in issues related to labor and rental contracts. - Support in the search for a home and relations with landlords. - Information on renting and buying property. - Support in job search and training courses. - Support in compiling a resume and cover letter. The office is open every Wednesday by appointment from 3 to 6 p.m. at 40 Via Concini in Terranuova Bracciolini. For appointments: send a message via Whatsapp to 353 439 0762 or email: sportellivaldarno@gmail.com or contact social services directly Attached is the calendar of openings from January to April 2024: Desk Calendar 2024 ...

Florence, Christmas 2023 In the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve in Arezzo, as soon as we cross the threshold -on the right- nine faces of distant, silent, anonymous suffering introduce us to the sacred. Those faces were chosen from a folder full of other eloquent images by students who participated in the "Man Project" organized by the Foundation from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. They are faces that we could meet every day in our cities; faces that tell of the same periphery that on the night of Bethlehem was populated by the excluded as they approached the Grotto and that still today ask that that embodied Hope does not remain confined to the territories of good statements only, as they would have the right to reproach us since they are deprived of any future - as they are - because of the conflicts that still inflame some regions of the world; conflict in Afghanistan, civil war in Myanmar, crisis in Yemen, Russian-Ukrainian war, Gaza war...

I am Viola Nouhi, and I have been working at the John Paul II Foundation for a few months now, after doing Universal Civil Service in Bethlehem for a year at the Paul VI Effeta Institute. Just about this time last year I was there, cheered by the joy of the children and fascinated by the spirit of Christmas that only the Holy Land can convey. These days I often think back to that time when the war seemed so far away. In a few days it is Christmas again and my heart breaks as I read the news of the conflict that is once again devastating that land. The Dorothean Sisters, who have always run the Institute, tell me every week what is happening in Bethlehem; unfortunately, fewer and fewer students can reach the school. In fact, most live far away and are unable to travel because it is risky to travel the roads and cross the checkpoints. Classes continue online but for...

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