WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
Young people from the Edmonton Archdiocese shared a meal and conversation with Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez, Archbishop Richard Smith and Lesley-Anne Knight, secretary-general of Caritas International.
EDMONTON — It doesn’t take a lot of money, resources or political influence to change the world. Even the smallest talent can have life-changing results.
That was one message Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga brought to a potluck supper for youth prior to the Feb. 17 Nothing More Beautiful session.
“Sometimes we have young volunteers in the summer helping in the Third World,” said Rodriguez.
“In my country of Honduras, in a very poor neighbourhood, there was a young man from Spain and he was a volunteer, and he said, ‘I can do nothing. All I know how to do is play soccer.’ I told him he would make a good soccer teacher for the kids.”
The volunteer was beloved by the children there because playing soccer for them was like being in heaven. He made a difference in the lives of those impoverished kids. When the volunteer went back to Spain, he felt that he had made a difference.
Prior to Nothing More Beautiful at St. Joseph’s Basilica, youth gathered downstairs in O’Leary Hall for a potluck meal. Rodriguez, Archbishop Richard Smith and Lesley-Anne Knight, secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis, spoke to them.
The cardinal explained the best way for an average young person to get involved with Caritas Internationalis, of which he is the president.
“Some places have campaigns during Lent where people can be solidarians, not only with their money. Giving money is the easiest way, but that’s not the best way. Give yourself, give your time, give your talents, do something for the community,” Rodriguez told the youth.
“These sorts of initiatives are growing more and more. The children of the Mauritius Island, in the Indian Ocean, impressed me,” he said. “The kids not only collected over 100,000 euros, but they also made beautiful cards for the kids of Haiti after the earthquake.
The cardinal spoke of many initiatives where youth can get involved, and recommended they be a part of Development and Peace. By putting Christian love into practice, they would discover new horizons.
Between 30 and 50 young people show up for the Nothing More Beautiful potlucks. Having the Caritas Internationalis representatives present attracted newcomers, as well as a trio from Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Spanish-speaking parish. The gathering provided the chance to meet the Nothing More Beautiful speakers, and ask them questions.
Therese Jodoin said the potlucks are “pretty cool for the young adults” because they get to socialize, enjoy a meal together, and meet the guest speakers. She would like to do more mission work, so this was a grand opportunity to gather more information.
“I am really excited to hear what these guys have to say,” said Jodoin. “I’ve been to Nothing More Beautiful a few times, and I always take something from it. I am especially interested to hear them (Rodriguez and Knight) because I’ve done mission work and I’m in social work right now in school.”
Adam Urkow is familiar with Development and Peace, so he was curious to learn more about Caritas Internationalis, and to speak with knowledgeable people from the western world.
“We hear all the time about how impoverished the developing nations are, so it was good to see what the Catholic Church is doing there,” said Urkow. “It’s awesome to hear how the Church is helping people.”