Let’s make bonds: Como’s youth meet marginality

“Legami” is a group on the move in the city of Como which was organized to create opportunities for encounter and dialogue between people living in the peripheries and the youth. The goal is to form a relationship with those who are lonely and marginalized to respond to the universal need of humanity. The group’s experience began in 2011 from an initiative of the Oratory of the Parish of Tavernola (near Como). Grateful for the experience of serving people living in the streets of Milan, some fifteen young people understood that this may be repeated in the city of Como, trusting that they may be able to share with their peers this faith-experience, concretely lived through the service of helping and listening to those living in situations of poverty and hardship.

One can imagine “Bonds” as the thread of a red ball of yarn, unwinding in order to surround persons, bringing their lives closer together and, regardless of differences, loving and welcoming the diversities that make each one important. It is extraordinary to build among ourselves and with the people we meet warm relationships based on dialogue and mutual listening.

The center of Legami’s service is the Gospel, in particular, the commandment of Love (Mt 19: 16-19) that invites us to go toward the other as a brother or sister we must love. Our weekly “rounds” of meetings begin from the church of Santa Cecilia at the center of Como where, guided by our spiritual assistant, Father Francesco Gonella, CM, we listen to the Word and contemplate on It. A time of sharing follows after which the participants are organized into small groups. Each group, with a guide, then goes to different destinations that include reception centers, makeshift shelters and open-air beds.

With a cake to share and a glass of hot tea (or orange soda in summer) we gently approach people, without pretending to have something to give or to change their lives but with the desire to be close and get to know each other. It is a school of life where we learn the beauty of encounter and bring it into everyday life.

What do we carry in our “backpack”? Desire to encounter: mirroring ourselves with another person leads us to recognize that contact with the other is what enlightens us about ourselves. An open heart to learn, to look beyond and thus gradually free oneself from any prejudice. Harmony: each note is different and precisely, if placed next to others, something new is always born, even with those a little out of tune! Good ears: sometimes it is much more important to dedicate our presence to sincere listening than to try to lift morale with rivers of words. Grandma’s cake: a simple gesture that represents the meaning of our sweetness: a sweetness that tastes of family, of love. What you bring home is very personal. The imprint you left is seen when you turn around and look behind you as it does not immediately draw your attention because the bond is often invisible. However, like a thread when retraced, it takes you back to the person at the other end, because each time, the invitation is renewed to keep the vitality in the established bond alive.

The activity of Legami does not stop at the experience of service but aims to promote education in faith through concrete actions and to this end, it proposes workshops and animation sessions in oratories, schools, communities and associations; during summer season, it offers training camps.

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