“The Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them; he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and would not destroy them; nor has he banished them from his presence until now.”   2 Kings 13.23

These are difficult days, days in which we must face the fact of our fragility, both personal and collective: closed in at home, blocked in a bubble of inactivity and distance from others, anxious about our loved ones and also for those who are obliged by their jobs to leave home and serve others. People like tram drivers, police officers and the staff working in large wholesale operations. And above all, we are worried for the nurses, doctors, and other health and social workers. In these days we are thinking about all of these people.

However, we cannot forget those who are living a reality far worse than our own. For example those who are in peril at sea, with no one ready to help them. Or migrants jammed together at the borders of Europe or in Europe’s crowded camps.

Our thoughts also turn to the men and women who see their living conditions deteriorate still further due to the spread of the virus  we are fighting. In particular, these are people who are homeless and have no access to services, people who are living in makeshift shelters and Roma people living in their camps. We are thinking also of those who are living in crowded and unsanitary conditions like housing  facilities for migrants and prisons. The Diaconia Valdese adheres to the reasonable requests brought to the national government by civil society groups like Antigone, ANPI, Gruppo Abele and ARCI. With them, we are asking that a solution be found to the overcrowding of prisons, that those living behind bars who are ill, elderly and fragile might be transferred out of detention centers to serve out their sentences. In all of these cases we must not let the contagion arrive in places and environments where it will be particularly difficult to manage the consequences for those who even before struggled to have access to health care.

We must and we can fight this virus recognizing ourselves as a single community, a community that excludes no one and that, above all, takes care of its weakest members. In this, we want to follow the example of our Lord who welcomed and accepted the orphan, the widow, the sick and the leper, revealing the human face of the men and women he encountered. In following Him, we become witnesses to a healing which was, and is, above all a restitution of social dignity to those who were suffering and in pain.

Declaration of the Diaconia Valdese