Roma Cura Roma: Small Actions Make a Difference

On 11 May 2024, the Rome municipal authority organized a clean-up of the city. Roma Cura Roma (“Rome takes care of Rome”) is an important city event dedicated to the collective care of streets, squares, parks and green areas. Among the many volunteers who participated in the event were the Missionaries of Africa residing in the Generalate. They worked together with other members of the Via Aurelia Pilgrims group, especially the Marist Sisters and the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA).

At 9:00 am we gathered in front of our Generalate, collected the tools needed and moved towards the indicated areas for work. The chosen area was the path that leads to the Valle Aurelia metro station (Via Pietro Ciriaci). The stairs in front of Via Agostino Richelmy, which descend into Via Anastasio II towards the Post Office were also part of our initiative (cf. https://www.romacura.roma.it/partecipanti/missionari-dafrica-padri-bianchi-via-aurelia-pilgrims/).

The work took us more than two hours, lasting till 12:00 pm, to clean the street leading to the Valle Aurelia metro station and the one that goes to the post office. Our initiative involved cutting the grass, collecting trash, scrubbing, sweeping the street, unblocking gutters, etc. We eventually collected bags filled with plastics, glass bottles, plants, dry leaves, etc. Everything that was compostable, was brought to the compost in our garden. Passersby were often surprised to see us working. One time, one of them gave an incentive of 5 € to buy drinking water since working under the sun can be dehydrating. The organizers of Roma Cura Roma are always grateful for our generosity and the work done. Rakes, plastic brooms, plastic rubbish bags and other materials for the work were given and collected from Piazza Sempione, Rome.

“Small actions make a difference”, argued a volunteer who joined our event. Our initiative was a response to Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home. His Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ and Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum call for a radical ecological conversion. An ecological metanoia involves listening to the cry of the vulnerable and the earth. How? By doing simple things such as cleaning the neighborhood, reducing waste, tracking how many hours are spent on devices to save energy, planting more native and fruit trees, etc., in the hope that such actions will ignite personal and community transformation.

It is worth recalling that last year, around the same time, the Missionaries of Africa took a similar initiative. As earlier stated, Roma Cura Roma is a day dedicated to the voluntary care of streets, squares, parks, and green areas of the city. This year’s 3rd edition, according to ROMA of Saturday, 11 May 2024, more than 300 initiatives were registered, bringing together 16.000 participants.

By: Prosper Harelimana, M. Afr.

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