Value the work of Father Domingo Solà and the charism of Marcellin Champagnat. This is how the celebration of Ekumene’s 40th anniversary was lived on Friday afternoon, May 19, at the Casal in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona. Ekumene is a social work in Barcelona that, on the one hand, works for literacy in Catalan and Spanish in the neighborhood through volunteering and, on the other hand, makes known the social and cultural reality of reception in the migrant population of the neighborhood through attention, cultural diffusion and accompaniment.
The celebration, which lasted a couple of hours, focused on the people who have shaped the history of the center from various perspectives: an emotional video that recalled many of the faces that have passed through the center, a round table to explain how people live Ekumene today and some initial speeches to thank the task of so many years.
In the parliaments we were able to count on the presence of the Government of the Generalitat, represented by Carles Armengol, General Director of Religious Affairs, and Eunice Romero, General Director of Migrations, Refugees and Anti-Racism. They highlighted the importance of the task that Ekumene does from the point of view of the “transformation” of lives and of advancing and collaborating together as a society. Charo Casas, president of Obra Misionera Ekumene, opened the turn of interventions with a heartfelt memory of the origins of the institution and thanking the work of so many volunteers who have passed through Ekumene over the years. For his part, Gabriel Villa-Real, Provincial of the Maristes L’Hermitage, recalled the Greek origin of the word “Ekumene” (the “home of all”) and highlighted the “firm and determined” commitment that the Marist Brothers They did a few years ago with the commitment to assume the management of the direction and coordination of the center.
During the round table, led by Brother Lluís Serra, we were able to listen to how the young Homaima Ben Hamouda, a student and collaborator of Ekumene, explained that being in the center represents an opportunity for her even because she has started to teach Computer Science ; how Teresa Dehesa continues to volunteer at her 80 years “because this gives me life”; how Marc Vidal, coordinator of Ekumene, expressed the satisfaction of collaborating in the center; like the Provincial Vicar of the Maristes L’Hermitage, brother Xavier Giné, said that he feels “happy” to see Ekumene today or like Toni López, administrator of Ekumene, heartily thanked the volunteer work and, when remembering the origins of the institution, mentioned that among the public there was a contemporary volunteer of Father Domingo Solà.
The celebration was closed by Helena Bové and Florenci Bové, current director and president of the Board, who once again thanked the work of all the people who are and have been the history of Ekumene.
The soundtrack for the afternoon was provided by the Coro Joven del Orfeó Atlàntida, directed by Arnau Roura, and with Nuria Roura on piano, who performed a few pieces from their repertoire and ended up making the audience sing “Happy Birthday” while blowing the candles on the cake that symbolized the 40 years of this history of service to others. The event was presented by the head of communication for the Marists in Catalonia, Imma Amadeo.