Log-book: June 2005
At the hospital People coming from many continents at the Pentecost In Graz Welcome to France !
At the hospital
After 50 days of a hunger strike, 12 people with no official papers have obtained satisfaction. The status of each one of them was regularized. Nobody was put aside.
This did not happen without harm! After some time of hardships and long combat, the time had come to share the delight of the families and the militants of the association.
As for the hunger strikers, they were hospitalized in Garches at a hospital in the Paris area.
I took the train to visit them. When I arrived at the station in Garches, I did not have to wait for a bus. Someone was very happy to drive me at my destination.
In this large hospital where I was going for the first time, everyone knew where I could find those I came to visit. There was no way to make a mistake.
It was a hearty meeting. The strikers marvelled at the way they had been well received at the hospital:
" Everybody was happy that we had been regularized. "
" They attended to our every need. "
" Usually people have a suspicious attitude towards us. We feel respected here. "
" The doctor told me: you can leave whenever you want. Take some time to rest yourself."
At the hospital, they lost the fear they had and accordingly, they found brotherhood.
People coming from many continents at the Pentecost
I went to Milan in Italy at the Saverians, a very lively congregation of missionaries. The Saverians invited me to their great Pentecost celebration gathering people from many continents. The theme chosen for the feast was: " A thousand faces, multiple cultures, only one humanity. For a culture gathering, reciprocity and celebration. "
I do not know what attracts so many young people to come to their feast. Probably it is the Saturday night concert that is a big hit. Young people love to gather around a table to talk, eat grilled food and drink beer.
There were also stands exhibiting the productions from African and Latin American countries. But the peek of the festivities was unquestionably the mass.
The Saverians insisted that I be there with mitre and crosier, which rarely happens to me! The crowd with a thousand faces was there on the lawn or in the shade of the trees, attentive and conscious of its diversity. They knew that the language of the Pentecost that everybody understands today is the language of action: " I was a stranger and you have welcomed me. I was sick and you came to visit me "
I was delighted to speak to this crowd attentive to the breath of the Spirit.
For the third time I came back to this city in Austria to give a speech. The newly appointed bishop welcomed me at the bishop's palace in a very brotherly way. He was delighted with the election of the new pope and was preparing himself to go to Rome for the enthronement mass..
His private secretary was present at my speech. I listened with interest the questions from the audience. It is a way for me to know the expectations of the people. That night, because it was news, questions were raised about the new pope.
In the audience there was such a desire for openness, such hope for change that disappointment was great. These Christians expressed with subtlety their concern for the future.
I was thinking about the enthusiasm of their bishop going to Rome. What a contrast between an official church and a simple parish.
The next morning at breakfast, the bishop declared himself satisfied : " My secretary reported to me last night that all went well ".
Welcome to France !
This is the title of a book just published. Anne de Loisy, a journalist, who I travelled with to Iraq two years ago, is the author.
She is not afraid to take risks and go forward and to forge ahead to go where women and men are in danger. This is how she succeeded to introduce herself in this notorious waiting zone of the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. To penetrate this closed-in zone, only one way : to work there.
During six months, Anne de Loisy worked for the Red Cross, as an intermediary between the foreigners and the police, without ever revealing her real occupation.
She has the great merit of letting the foreigners in irregular situations speak.
Anne has often felt anger, revolt and helplessness. She just could not imagine what she saw and heard. And that goes on at 30 Km from Paris!