NEWS for Wednesday, May 31, 2000
FROM DRUGS TO HOPE: FORMER DRUG ADDICTS ON PILGRIMAGE TO ROME
Initiative of Community for Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts
ROME, MAY 30 (ZENIT.org).
A group of 45 former drug addicts has taken
up a 60-mile pilgrimage on foot to celebrate the Jubilee. "The march in
the sun is exhausting, but it is lovely to hear people encourage us:
Come on! Don't give up!" said one of the youths, aged between 15 and 24.
They are walking from Civitavecchia to Rome in a Jubilee pilgrimage
characterized by joy and courage. The marchers are from "The Bridge"
rehabilitation community in Civitavecchia. They are being accompanied by
8 workers and the community's founder, Fr. Egidio Smacchia, 59. They are
all wearing shorts and red T-shirts with the motto "Jubilee 2000 -- The
Bridge." They are coming to Rome "to cross the Holy Door, which means to
'go beyond.' Even to go beyond our own tranquility, of not wanting to
address our problems."
The road is long and hard. From the beginning they were aware of the
difficulties. "To share is also to see that the rest are tired but keep
walking," Danilo, one of the marchers, said.
At the end of the preparatory meetings for the pilgrimage and Holy Year,
Fr. Egidio told them, "The Jubilee must also be something extraordinary
for us. On the way, at times it will be necessary to help or be helped;
in any event, we will only be able to go on if we are together." The
youths are carrying a special book, in which their hosts on route can
write a dedication.
"Rome is your Jubilee of liberation," Fr. Filippo Gentili, priest of
Most Holy Savior parish in Bolsena, wrote in the book.
In the midst of laughter and singing, the pilgrimage continues with
reflections and discussions, on a one-to-one basis or in groups, to
contribute to recovery. In the afternoon, the pilgrims meet their hosts.
15-year old Marianna is quite overwhelmed. "I felt very good this
afternoon at Mass. I am like a girl again, and I felt I was in a very
large family." The pilgrimage has not ended. When they return home, they
will write many letters to all the persons they met and to those who
housed them, hoping to return their favors one day in Civitavecchia.
We encourage you to check the Catholic World News site at the
CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the Dossiers, features and Daily Dispatches from ZENIT International News Agency CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC, but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday. Because we can offer the news now in seven languages for the world, we are reprinting the news stories as they come in.