On November 28, 1887, the Blessed Bishop of Piacenza founded the Missionaries of San Carlo Congregation for migrants. Here is the Message from the General Directorate for the anniversary, which takes place during the Scalabrinian Year that has just started.
Rome, November 26, 2021 – On November 28, 1887, Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini founded the Missionaries of San Carlo congregation. Blessed Scalabrini believed that the purpose of the institute was « to maintain unity between religion and homeland – read the message that the Scalabrinian General Directorate wrote for the occasion – Consequently, it considers it important that culture is preserved among migrants of origin because this is functional for the keeping of faith. »
The Earthly Homeland and the Heavenly Homeland
The text prepared by the General Fathers takes up in the title the theme of the Scalabrinian Year, which started on the first weekend of November (Make the World the Homeland of Man) to elaborate a reflection on the concept of homeland, based on the way in which Scalabrini himself conceived it.
“Scalabrini lived in the Risorgimento, the historical period in which the Italian state was formed. Therefore, he was no stranger to the rhetoric of the love of the country – the message continues -. But in Scalabrini (…) the religious perspective relativizes national sentiment and directs it to the definitive homeland. ‘The earthly homeland and the heavenly homeland. Oh yeah, we love the first one. It is a gift from God … but to truly love him, we associate the love of religion with his love that guides us to the eternal homeland.‘”
The Greatest Homeland
It was precisely his passion for the latter that led him to believe that caring for migrants was a religious and patriotic duty, « therefore a duty of all. » The Scalabrinian Year that the missionaries dedicated to publicizing the figure of the Founder (and which will last until November 9, 2022), « is an invitation to give a homeland to those who have no homeland, in particular to develop the mission that it expands borders beyond the usual and known, trying unexplored paths, being next to those who are far from home so that they feel at home. »
And for the Scalabrinian Family in particular, « it is an invitation to strengthen the will to walk together, not emphasizing the homelands from which we come, but the greater homeland, the belonging that was created when we heard the invitation of the one who called us, feeling that we were fellow citizens but also foreigners, because our true homeland always remains elsewhere.”