On the 29th we celebrated the World Day of Immigrants, and just as in every year, Atalaya collaborated with the Diocese in the celebrations. On the 28th we had the Gathering of the Nations in the auditorium in the Jesuit’s house. They removed the seats, and there we set up: 14 countries in their stands: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Santo Domingo, Bulgaria, Rumania, Georgia, Morocco, and Algeria. They presented their culture, customs, native dress and dances. There were more than 200 people attending, of all races and colors. It was a great intercultural encounter where each one was valued for him/herself.
We began the gathering with a presentation by two people, a Spanish woman and a Moroccan man. Then we had some prayers in different languages and religions: Bangladeshi, Muslim, Chinese, Rumanian, Georgian and Spanish. We continued the meeting with the presentation of the different countries and enjoyed a merienda with typical dishes; we ended the meeting with traditional dances.
We have been holding these gatherings for several years, and it makes us feel like brothers and sisters. No matter our skin color or our religion; we can all look at one another without criticism and discover the greatness of God in each one.
I want to take advantage of this occasion in order to remember that this happens daily in Atalaya: a group of people from different countries whom we welcome and help, we give them something to eat, and we feel like one big family. Last year in our soup kitchen we fed people from 35 different countries. I see it as a very great grace; it helps me to broaden my horizons and see God in each one of them.
Esther Soler, aci