Growing as a network: Centro Astalli – JRS Italy

09 May 2023|JRS Europe

The representatives of all offices of Centro Astalli.

More than 50 people from different teams and delegations belonging to the Centro Astalli – JRS Italy family met on 5-6 May in Rome. The meeting had the dual objective of reconnecting the teams from all across the country and reflect on the work done in the previous year.

On Friday, the teams reflected on one of the latest joint projects: “Resilient Communities – Integrated measures for the inclusion of people in economically and socially fragile conditions” aimed at protecting and strengthening the labour inclusion of people in fragile situations, particularly those exposed to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. The project will act in the areas of implementation with integrated measures tailored to the needs of the different target groups – forced migrants, detainees, the homeless, people facing economic and social difficulties.

The project integrates institutions with which Centro Astalli works in a network in different regions of Italy: Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Apulia, Sicily, Tuscany and Veneto. Professor Ivo Lizzola, Professor of Social Pedagogy and Pedagogy of Marginality and Conflict and Mediation at the Department of Human and Social Sciences at the University of Bergamo, inspired by the work of this project, led a reflection on the pedagogy of working with vulnerable migrants. His presentation was complemented by Fr. Roberto De Riccio, Provincial of the Euro-Mediterranean Province, who brought in the Ignatian perspective.

In the evening, the whole group had an excellent meal and evening hosted by the “Daughters of Charity” in their general house in Rome. The food and service were provided by the multi-ethnic social restaurant “Gustamundo”, a project that seeks to support the social and labour inclusion of refugees and migrants in society.

On Saturday, the meeting of the Centro Astalli Territorial Network took place. This network was born with the aim of carrying out common projects, working together all over the national territory, for similar objectives and inspired by the same values.

It consists of a national office based in Rome and seven local offices in Trento, Vicenza, Padua, Bologna, Grumo Nevano (in the province of Naples), Catania, and Palermo. The Network is configured as a coordination of realities linked to the Jesuits or close to Ignatian spirituality, all working in the field of immigration.

The meeting began with a time of prayer by Fr. Alessandro Manaresi, followed by a report by Fr. Camillo Ripamonti, with a look at the reality of migration in Italy and supported by the annual report.

The meeting followed with an update from each delegation to showcase their work throughout the country. There were some recurrences, including reports of increased vulnerability, the challenge of labour and housing; as well as a special look at the response of reception and integration with the Ukrainian population, especially in the north of the country.

Our Director, Fr Alberto Ares, participated in the meeting and gave a presentation on the reality of migration in Europe through the work of the JRS Europe network, and also on the response of the Society of Jesus to the crisis in Ukraine: One Proposal. This participation helped put the work of the Centro Astalli network within the broader JRS Europe network and the situation around the continent.

Throughout the day, various common projects, publications and reports on the reality of housing and hospitality, as well as educational projects and Refugee Day 2023 were shared.