By Nico Angerosa, FC 19 Costa Rica
Rain, sunshine, and more rain. For Costa Ricans, this means “winter” is rolling in. For us volunteers, this means our summer is here, marking the closing of our year of service. What a year it has been of adventures in our community, getting to know Costa Rica and local culture, the Friars, the people we serve and equally as important, getting to know ourselves a little better.
This year has been important for many reasons. It has helped us grow and mature. It has shown us the dependency and support we as human beings yearn for in each other. We experienced this support within our various communities through our daily interactions, intentional discussions and communal activities. We also learned about this need through our work sites and interactions with the people we serve and serve with. For me personally, the most important thing I have taken away from this year is the amount of joy and pride the people of Costa Rica exhibit every day, even when they had little they offered everything. We committed to this year of service with a Franciscan heart; to live and work in solidarity with poor and less fortunate communities. Leaving a bit of the materialistic lifestyle on hold for these 11 months has been truly inspiring and has allowed me to immerse myself into a different lifestyle than I am used to at home. Sure, I try to do what I can at home to live simply and humbly, but being in contact with poverty on a daily basis has a huge impact on you and your mentality. The phrase “come as you are” comes to mind every day. Don’t pass judgment, be authentic, and recognize the needs these people yearn for everyday – emotional, physical, and mental support – the same needs I, my community and everyone strives for everyday with the people you love.
As we finish up the year, we are also processing the knowledge that FC 19 Costa Rica, will be the last FrancisCorps group to bring service to this great nation, at least for now. It has been a truly humbling experience getting to know all of the amazing friars and locals, as well as each other, and simply doing what Jesus and Saint Francis ask us to do each and every day: to live in community, love thy neighbor, and love one another as brothers and sisters. After all, at the end of the day, that is who we are – global citizens, regardless of religion, of this incredible world, here to be in support of one another and to aid in times of need and rejoice in times of peace. The Catholic Church doesn’t wear the label “universal” for no reason. Get out there and show it; this is who we are, a loving and welcoming community.
I don’t know about you, but it seems there’s a lot of need that ALL of our brothers and sisters could use a little help with right now. So, I ask of you, please be present for those who need it most and have a part in making this place, our global community, our home, feel like home. “Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words.”