An unexpected encounter

24 March 2023

In St. Bartholomew’s Church in Rome, I was moved by the memorial to the many modern martyrs “gathered” around the tomb of the apostle. As I was about to leave, something, colored bright orange, attracted my attention. It was a newspaper! And that orange was the color of Sergius’ T-shirt, portrayed on the front page. So I began to read his life story, told by Giancarlo. It was as if I could hear Sergius’s voice.

As I continued reading the other articles, it was as if I felt “at home,” so much so that I told my wife how similar this newspaper was to our newsletter. Just in the most recent issue, we had reflected on the importance of listening, of looking into each other’s eyes. It was a joy to read Fabrizio’s editorial and the Pope’s words on this theme.

Finally, looking at the masthead, I realized that I had in my hands “L’Osservatore di Strada,” the new monthly magazine of “L’Osservatore Romano.” In Canada, where I live, I had heard about the release of this new publication of the Church of Rome, but I had not yet had the opportunity to read it.

The poor, in all countries, can be recognized. I like that you write stories about simple people and do not just talk about projects and initiatives for the poor. Your newspaper gives voice to those who have no voice.

This meeting with The Street Observer in St. Bartholomew’s was a sign of fraternity for me. We hope it can grow: for example, by making ourselves available to translate some stories into English for publication on the “L’Osservatore Romano” website and in our newsletter in Toronto.

When I returned to Canada, I shared with our community at St. John The Compassionate Mission the story of this unexpected encounter. And already we have begun to get busy translating some of the articles. One of the difficulties faced by many of those who live alongside the poor is that of feeling lonely, isolated. Being able to read stories of the poor from another place in the world, stories of true love and hope, stories written in the words of the poor, makes us feel less lonely and helps us understand better what we experience. It also gives us hope that the world can truly change, since it is possible for the voiceless to be heard.

Even if there is an ocean between us, we can be heard and feel close. And be brothers.

Thank you for your work. Thank you for also giving voice to the poor in Canada.

By Roberto Ubertino