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The Street Observer A bridge of friendship and fraternity

Dear English-speaking friends

 Dear English-speaking  friends  ODS-018
03 febbraio 2024

Dear English-speaking friends, this page is for you. Starting this month, «L’Osservatore di Strada», “the newspaper where the last become protagonists” — as Pope Francis called it during the Angelus prayer of 29 June 2022 announcing the release of the first issue — wishes to meet you too, dedicating a page where we can get to know each other and, we hope, embark on a journey together in the sign of closeness and solidarity with those who are weakest.

Good education means that, first of all, you show up... And because we believe in respect and kindness, we will briefly tell you who we are.

«L’Osservatore di Strada» is a monthly of «L’Osservatore Romano», the historical newspaper of the Holy See that since 1861 tells the activity of the Pope and the life of the Church in the Vatican, in Rome, and in the world (you can read it on the website www.osservatoreromano.va). In this newspaper, the protagonists are the poor, homeless people, people marginalized and excluded from society, who here have the opportunity to get out of anonymity and make their voices heard. Among those that contemporary society considers ‘discards’ there is a heritage of humanity, wisdom, and culture that is worth listening to. There are writing talents, poetry, and artists to be recognized and valued.

But «L’Osservatore di Strada» is not just a newspaper of the poor. It is also a newspaper for the poor. The hard copies are distributed in St. Peter’s Square and are free of charge. For once, the poor reach out not to ask for an offer, but to make a gift. And if someone wishes to reciprocate it with an offer, this will be destined in full to the person who offered the newspaper.

But it doesn’t end here: «L’Osservatore di Strada» is and wants to be above all a newspaper with the poor, made together with them. Because those who are marginalized do not need to be locked up in another ghetto, even if it were just a newspaper. So next to our ‘street authors’ there are many other friends, great brands of literature, journalism, and cinema, but also volunteers and operators of charitable associations and organizations, who lend their pen to those who are not familiar with writing, but have a story to tell.

And here we are at this month’s issue. As you will notice from the great photograph on the cover, the first news concerns a special event, indeed a gift that «L’Osservatore di Strada» has received. On December 29, Pope Francis wanted to meet us, inviting us to the Vatican. It was a beautiful experience, a very strong emotion. So many smiles, so many handshakes, and the chance to tell him, “We love you and pray for you”.

The second part of the newspaper is dedicated, instead, to the ‘night of the homeless’: fears, difficulties, but also the dreams of those who sleep in the street under cardboard or, if it suits them, in a tent. Also here, on this page, the friends of Toronto of St. John Compassionate Mission, tell about their experience in this regard.

We like to think that it was no coincidence that the unexpected meeting with the Pope happened just when we were thinking in the dark of loneliness and abandonment. We like to think that that meeting represents, not only for the «L’Osservatore di Strada» but for all the people who live in uncomfortable conditions, a light of Hope.

On the other hand, we like to think that Providence never does things at random.