Every beach resort should be like La Madonnina. This beach resort in Focene, a hamlet of Fiumicino in the province of Rome, isn’t more beautiful or bigger than others along the coast of the
When Pope Francis learned that the resort is managed entirely by volunteers of the Associazione Opera San Luigi Gonzaga (non-stock, non- profit), he wanted to give a generous contribution. The money is enough to cover the expenses for the operations, but most of all it will cover an entire year’s rent of public land. Imagine the joy and astonishment of the members of the association when they received a visit from the Papal Almoner, Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, just as they were busy preparing for the summer season. He bore a gift from the Pope, along with a note in which the Santo Papa blesses their precious work, their families, and all the disabled youth who spend their vacation there. “It was like an endless caress that moved us to tears,” the association’s spokesperson, Elena Grazini, tells us, adding, “It was truly a great surprise and once again God’s answer to the many difficulties, also financial, that the Opera San Luigi Gonzaga is faced with, to keep a beautiful and arduous commitment, made in 2012 by the ex-parish priest, Don Massimo Consolaro.”
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Take Me to the Beach
Walkways in bright blue and yellow are laid out on the sand so that those in wheelchairs can move freely and independently. La Madonnina is conveniently equipped with ramps, raised sunbeds, bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. With its fine sand and crystal-clear waters, La Madonnina is the perfect place for relaxation where Persons With Disabilities (PWD) can
enjoy the benefits of the sea.
Lightness of Being
Once in the water, the beach’s special guests experience lightness, and finally the weight of immobility disappears. Just like the buoying embrace of its
waters, guests also appreciate La Madonnina’s loving hospitality and care. This is what drove the Pope to help the volunteers who serve with a smile even without ever receiving any compensation, who simply come here to make others happy. In the end, it is as Pope Francis says: “Welcoming all these little ones marked by mental or physical impairments or by wounds of the soul, you will recognize in them the special witnesses of God’s tenderness, from whom we have a lot to learn and who have a privileged place also in the Church.”
Text by Cecilia Seppia. Photos from Facebook.
Want to know more La Madonnina? Read the full article that appears in the April 2018 issue of My Pope Philippines.
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