Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 61

one of our European priests. This is concrete charity lived to the full. “In a word: charity cannot be neutral, antiseptic, indifferent, lukewarm, or impartial. Charity is infectious, it excites, it risks, and it engages” (Pope Francis). Charity is touch, it is human contact that sees not race, culture, or borders. In all of these definitions, we see the face of that priest and child exemplifying the very deeds Pope Francis had in mind when he initiated World Day of the Poor, and encompassing this year’s scripture motto: "This poor man called and the Lord heard his cry" (Psalm 34:7) But the best part of the day was meeting 8 migrant boys from different African countries, and sharing a meal which they prepared for us. All were young men sleeping on the streets in Paris since they had no shelter atop their heads, and no documents to present to the authorities. Our three priests and some lay members from the parish brought them back to the Church, giving them a place to sleep. The men are gracious and happy of this hospitality, which allows them to work on their documents, and even more importantly, getting back to their normal self. Our meeting together lasted an hour, and each one mentioned his name and place of origin. I asked them to recount their journey to Europe, and the hardships they encountered on the way. All of them said they left home because of the immense poverty. It’s not uncommon that the able-bodied man parts in search of finding work to support his family back home. They traveled from country to country, taking up small works for the money to press onward, paying agents to take them across the borders, where they were packed like sardines in vehicles. They worked in subhuman conditions for little money, if that pay ever reached their hands. They were beaten up and treated as though they were worthless. In Libya, there was much suffering. There were too many people, and too much confusion. They only reached France because they knew how to speak the language. There are many more details about their personal stories, of which I will not 61