Inauguration of the Homeless Shelter in Madrid
On 14 May, the Superior General presided over the celebrations for the inauguration of the new facilities at the homeless shelter of Our Lady of Peace in Madrid, belonging to the Castile Province.
The celebration began with Mass concelebrated by nine priests including the Vicar General and several Provincials from different Congregations. The celebration had been carefully prepared and was very moving, recalling the history of the Centre which has been caring for the homeless for over 37 years. Over 300 people took part in the event, including Brothers from different communities in Spain, Co-workers from different centres in Spain and Portugal, Sisters and Brothers, Benefactors, Volunteers and Residents of the Centre itself, together with a number of central and local governments officials.
In his homily, Brother Jesús referred to the topical relevance of the charism of Mercy, and recalled the founder of the Centre, Brother Antonio Zarzosa.
The Superior of the Centre, Brother Juan Antonio Diego Equivias voiced his gratitude for the great response and help received to complete this great project for the new Centre and urged everyone present to continue working together to extend a welcome and rehabilitation.
After Mass, the Centre’s Drama Group acted out the rereading of St John of God which they wrote and performed themselves, and they were greeted with loud applause by all those attending.
Following this, we went to visit the new installations in the Centre. It is a large modern innovative facility with a great deal of light and very roomy.
The inauguration ceremony itself consisted of placing various documents and objects in a “time capsule” representing the present Centre and a letter written to all those who will be opening the capsule in 30 years’ time. This act was performed by one of the Brothers of the Community, a resident, a volunteer and the longest-serving Co-worker at the Centre. Having buried the capsule, the Superior General, Jesús Etayo, and the Provincial Council Miguel Ángel Varona, proceeded to cut the symbolic tape and to bless the new facilities.
The organisers of the event had prepared three “pathways” to lead the visitors around the Centre, making the occasion a very festive, and also an emotional experience at the same time. What attracted the most admiration and comments was the modernist Chapel in which the centrepiece is the image of Our Lady of Peace, a realistic sculpture containing the tabernacle. The day ended with a great open-air picnic with musical accompaniment and children’s games, bringing to a close this historic day for the whole Order.