Dear friends and donors,
When I arrived in Haiti in January last year, one of the things that suddenly impressed me was the amount of "human pollution" that you see in every corner, especially in the more populated centers, like the suburbs, where all the "waste" of the city pours through the channels of water that are authentic open sewers and unfortunately became the source of many diseases. Particularly during these days, with the heavy rains, you see miles of floating garbage blocking the flow and therefore causing floods in the areas where people live in very poor conditions. This situation of degradation, however, reflects a state of deeper deterioration in our world today, not only in Haiti. In fact, the sight of all this pollution recalled to my mind so many other situations that I have seen in other counties too.
We live in an era in which the ethical relativism, consumerism and hedonism not only produce material waste but also a “culture of waste” as stated also by Pope Francis. It is sad to note how the gap between rich and poor is widening, and to see how there is a will to "dope" the human soul through a renewed "panem et circenses" (bread and circuses) already used by the roman emperors to keep the people blind, deaf, mute and paralyzed. The “human pollution” produced by this logic is likely to grow and, not knowing how and where to dump and/or recycle it, the risk is that we switch to a nihilistic logic and a culture of non-life through means less violent but still lethal.
One day while walking outside the orphanage in Kenskoff, a SUV stopped by, they asked me some information about the area and, when I pointed out that there was also an orphanage, one of them asked me why I was wasting time with “human pollution”. I didn’t catch immediately what he meant because the place is in the mountains and is actually green and well kept, but then I realized that he wasn’t referring to the garbage as to the people! That really upset me and humanly I wanted to throw stones at the vehicle just as Peter had put hand on the sword when Jesus was arrested. I was heartbroken and I immediately returned to the orphanage overwhelmed. The children were playing, and I admired particularly those who were taking care especially of the weak and disabled, I saw one of them breaking a cracker to share with others, I saw their gestures of affection and thought about the atrophied heart of the man in the car, I saw the eyes of the careful and responsible educators and volunteers and thought about the superficial and flat glance of that man, I heard them sing and thought about his “out of tune” words. I tried to imagine what would the reaction of the man be if he could have seen what I saw at that moment. I wondered why, what I considered a paradise, he was considering it a trashcan. Then I remembered the words of Psalm 117, which is sung accompanied by the Alleluia during the Easter Vigil: "The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone".
What we consider as “waste” is so precious to God to cost the price of his own blood! Christ, through His Passion and Resurrection has "recovered" us as children of God and therefore as his brothers and sisters. In his pierced heart everyone finds "home" and nobody stays out or excluded! Indeed the last is the first and at the banquet will sit the blind, the lame, the dumb, etc ... He has made himself last so as to have nor appearance or beauty to attract our hedonistic gaze; he humbled himself becoming a servant to death on the cross and that is why God exalted him and has given him the name that is above every name! God chose what is weak and foolish and this is the criterion of the Passionist order to which I belong to and it is clearly underlying the mission of NPFS and St. Luc.
Our cornerstone is Christ, but our other fundamental stones are the children abandoned by their families and society; the sick children at St. Damien and in particular those that unfortunately, for various reasons, have been abandoned by their families or rejected by other clinics because judged as not worth to live; the disabled people that have no place in society and that are present in our programs not only as assisted but as people who participate according to their capabilities to our mission; the dead present every day on the floor of the chapel because they have no one to claim them and the destitute of the morgue of the general hospital who are often the stones on which many volunteers rediscover their faith; the graduates of our programs who became strong leaders of them and continue with the spirit of wanting to build a more fair and just society according to the logic of the Cross, trying to give education and health care to those who otherwise will never have access to.
Dear friends and donors, probably the Haitian calvary appears in the distance only as a place of death and despair, but I assure you that we see and touch every day the signs of resurrection and life, we see these precious "stones" shine with their colors like the stars in the night and this thanks also to your prayers and support.
My wish for this Easter is that we can all rediscover Christ as the cornerstone on which to rebuild our lives and see the beauty of the precious "stones" that Christ himself chose to build his kingdom.
Fr. Enzo Del Brocco, cp