13 No place for Hunger in the City of Mary - Annabel D'souza

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:21 AM ]
Raising awareness about global hunger, Mariapolis 2018 left a lasting impact on its protagonist teens and all other participants.

Literally translating as the 'City of Mary', the Mariapolis is an annual event of the Focolare for families, teens and youth who are members, and those wishing to know about it. There have already been four Mariapolises in different parts of India this year; the fifth will be in Goa in September. The Mariapolis for Mumbai and Pune this year was held at Papal Seminary, Pune, from May 24-27. Over the years, this annual Mariapolis has welcomed thousands of 'citizens' who have come together to live the Gospel and create a family based on mutual love. Fittingly, this year's theme of 'Be a Family' encouraged and inspired participants to adopt a Marian attitude of love and service towards one's neighbour.

Over a period of four days, participants actively engaged in reflections, soul-searching and sharing to identify opportunities to love in their daily lives. Music, interactive indoor and outdoor games and creative workshops were some of the key highlights at Mariapolis 2018 that attracted participants from as far as Hyderabad, Telangana and Goa. Over 180 adults, 60 children and teens and 40 youth made up this beautiful City of Mary this year. A first-time participant said, "Initially, I felt Mariapolis is about fun and entertainment. But it has given me a new meaning of holiness. I am a very spiritual person, and always wanted to do something more for the Lord. I think now I have received my answer."

#ZeroHunger Generation

In addition to the above, Mariapolis 2018 saw its teens respond creatively to a call against global hunger. They explained how teens like themselves all over the world (Teens4Unity) have decided to stand on the frontline with the entire global Focolare Movement supporting them in various concrete efforts to achieve the ambitious goal of being the world's first Zero Hunger Generation. Responding to a meeting between official representatives from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Focolare Youth Centres in Rome on September 8, 2017, these teens want to ensure that by 2030, no one in the world should suffer from hunger any more.