“I came to share with them the joy and bring the presence and affection of Pope Francis. You know that Pope Francis is very close to the poor. He is a great defender of the poor. I think he would feel very comfortable with those people. It is something to represent the figure and the word of the Pope,” he explained, speaking about the purpose of his visit to Father Pedro Opeka and his protégés.
Oasis of Hope
He thanked especially the Argentinean priest who has spent nearly 47 years of his life fighting poverty in Madagascar. “In the name of Pope Francis, we are grateful particularly to Father Pedro and all those people who embark on social projects,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in his speech.
For 28 years, Father Pedro Opeka has tried to lift thousands of families from poverty in Antananarivo by developing Akamasoa. Currently, Akamasoa has 26,000 residents, 13,500 junior high school, high school, and university students.
Thirty-thousand people per year also benefit from nutritional and health care. The association has some one-hundred recipients who have successfully completed their studies.
Father Pedro, the project manager of this “oasis of hope,” reminds our leaders that they should not expect “glory” by rendering service to the Nation. “Our leaders refrain from telling the truth. Others are in this place for their glory and do not fulfill their duty as they should. For me, as a man of the Church, service is my only motto. If you do not serve the population, what are you doing here? It is an honor to help our children, our young people, the population,” he emphasized. Words on which our leaders should meditate.
Miangaly Ralitera – L’Express de Madagascar [The Express of Madagascar Newspaper]