The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the presence of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Charles – Scalabrinian fathers in Africa this year, is being characterized by various events. Among these, on Wednesday the 26th of July, the Scalabrinian Fathers in Cape Town prepared the luncheon for all members of Staffs and volunteers, who collaborate with them in serving the migrants and refugees in the social projects. The celebration attracted almost sixty-five staffs and volunteers from Scalabrini Centre, Scalabrini Institute of Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA), Lawrence house, members of the board and the Scalabrinian Fathers. It was a beautiful moment of celebrating together the charism and the mission of Scalabrinian fathers in which the lay staffs and volunteers are sharing through offering the service to the migrants and refugees.
In the welcoming speech, the Scalabrini Centre director Miranda Madikane thanked everyone for being part of the team that is advocating the rights of the Migrants and Refugees in South Africa. She thanked everyone for coming and celebrating the 25 years of legacy of the charism of the Scalabrinian Fathers in Africa. Furthermore, she highlighted the history of the beginning of the social projects in Cape Town, which was spearheaded by Fr Mario Tessarotto. She stated that the Scalabrinian Missionaries came here after the invitation from Archbishop Henry Lawrence in 1994, just at the outset of independence in the country. The pastoral ministry of the Scalabrinian Fathers was extended through social projects. She underlined that the Congregation through Fr Mario Tessarotto, who by then was in- charge of the social projects, purchased the building in 2001, then renovating it and in 2003 it was officially opened by Archbishop of Cape Town Lawrence Henry. The edifice was named after the founder of the Congregation “SCALABRINI” as Scalabrini Centre.
Fr Filippo Ferraro a Scalabrinian Missionary priest, executive director of the Scalabrini Institute of Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) and a member of the board, in his speech, he illuminated the initial intuitions of Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini and the development of his intuition in the Church and society. He underlined that the founder as a young bishop did want people to be forced to migrate, according to him, every human being should be free to migrate or not. For Blessed Scalabrini, migration is part of human nature and no one can forestall or block it. Furthermore, Fr Filippo explained the incident of the Milan train station and the vital question of Blessed Scalabrini “what can I do”. He exalted all the members of staffs and the volunteers to emulate the spirit of the founder whenever they are serving the migrants and the refugees daily. He thanked every member of staffs and volunteers for their holistic approach, dedication, care and respect they offer in serving the migrants and refugees. In conclusion, he invited all the members of Staffs and volunteers to feel free to approach those in authority without fear, to share their perplexity, challenges, difficulties and new ideas too. In executing thus, they are actively participating in establishing a strong team with one vision.
After these speeches, Jade Henderson, Unite manager, showed the video clip in which the protagonists are the young people, who aim to develop and improve skills in leadership and community activism, fostering attitudes that promote respect for all cultures in South African. The clip puts into evidence how young people can be the advocate for change by being inclusive in schools and society.
The fellowship continued through the sharing of the meal together, the women’s platform offered their fantastic service and skills in serving at the table. The food was delicious, and everyone present enjoyed and was happy to be part of the Scalabrinian team in the social projects.