By: Modeste Munimi, SVD.
The immigrants form part of the daily panorama of our cities, estates and Churches. In the faces of the immigrants we contemplate the image of Christ who said: “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me” (Mt 2: 35).
The recent events in the news make us see the migratory phenomenon like an inevitable drama for many people that don’t have any alternative. Melilla (Spain) is almost an evident tragedy. In recent months, hundreds of immigrants have attempted to storm the 6m-high border fence. It is the major attempt registered until now.
Melilla is only a tip of the iceberg to know that there are a lot of stories behind the people who come from other countries and cultures, seeking to survive or give a better future to their families from a far.
Despite their illegal situation, the immigrant is a human being, created and loved by God. Therefore, he has his dignity and rights. Crossing borders to look for a better life, the immigrant leaves behind a family, relatives, friends, etc. The new hard situation makes him begin life all over again; look for a job and integrate himself into a new society, different from his. It is something not always simple, but possible, thanks to the work of many non-governmental organizations, associations, Caritas and religious congregations. The congregation of The Divine Word Missionaries is one of them.
Father Marcel Kakrabah-Quarshie, a Ghanaian Divine Word missionary, started two years ago with a group of 10 south-Saharan immigrants in the parish of Our Lady of Carmen in the estate of Su Eminencia in Sevilla. Today, the group has hundreds of immigrants, originating from Nigeria and Ghana. In the beginning, they were meeting on Saturdays to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in English. After the mass, they meet in the parish hall, where they take some refreshments and share their joys and sorrows.
“It is the only moment of the week that I experience interior peace. I forget the daily sufferings and struggles. The time in the mass celebrated by Fr. Marcel and later the sharing with the other brothers who live in the same situation like me, give me back hope”, confesses one of the immigrants.
(Fr. Marcel Kakrabah-Quarshie, SVD at the center)
Slowly by slowly, the group has been expanding and more than the service offered in the parish, there is the Association Casa de todos (the House of All). This is an initiative by three congregations, among which is the congregation of the Divine Word. In this association, they offer training for both Spanish and immigrants’ families in risk of social exclusion. Spanish language courses, psychological attendance and job advice, are among the many areas of service they have. In doing this, there is participation and assistance of qualified personnel and of course a good number of volunteers.
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