“Encounter Luca Bianucci it’s a breath of fresh air. A Porcarese who 26 years ago decided to bring his heart, his head and his skills to the southern hemisphere to help the least. To support and keep away from dangers the meninos de rua, street children, who sacrifice their childhood to crime and the underworld. A life in service, that of Luca. A lifetime service. Before him, who translated his religious vocation into being a missionary, we all feel small and grateful. Grateful to a man who, instead of giving advice, inspires by his example ”. Like this Leonardo Fornaciarimayor of Porcari, who on Thursday afternoon (November 17) together with the entire municipal council received fellow citizen Luca Bianucci at the town hall.
The a lay missionary who left Porcari in 1996 at the age of 26 and has since then been in the service of the Archdiocese of Lucca in Brazil. Until 2003 Bianucci dedicated himself above all to orphaned minors or those abandoned by families who live on begging and petty crime in Sao Luis, in the northeastern part of the country. And it is in that city that he is about to return, by the will of the archbishop Paolo Giulietti, but he already knows that he will find it changed: “Twenty years ago there were 850 thousand inhabitants, today they are one million and 100 thousand. The population is increasing – he explained – because people, generation after generation, tend to leave the countryside to move closer to the city and to the education and employment opportunities it offers first”.
This for Bianucciit will be there third move since living in Brazil. “From Aracaju, a city on the Atlantic coast where I have lived with my family since 2016 and where I also held the position of treasurer of the diocese, to São Luís – the missionary said – there are about 1700 kilometers away. It will take twelve days for the moving company to complete the job. Distances that however do not scare me. In 2003, when I was transferred to Rio Branco, in the northern region of the country, the kilometers traveled were many more, 4960, and then, 13 years later, a good 5980 and thirty-one days of moving”.
Luca Bianucci in these years he also worked in a leper colony: not a hospital, but a shelter home where people who need care or need to be accompanied during the period of illness usually live. And again, it has collaborated with a structure similar to an orphanage, which welcomes and places minors without families or in conditions of serious difficulty in educational paths.
“The situation in Brazilian cities is very difficult. Urbanization – explained Bianucci – was not regulated by any planning and still today only 55 percent of inhabited areas have basic services such as drinking water and sewage systems. This, of course, generates major hygiene and public health problems: malaria, chikungunya, dengue, are commonplace diseases that debilitate people. Also for this reason, the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil has claimed over 760,000 victims to date”.
Luca Bianucci, in Brazil, also experienced the phenomenon of the Pentecostal evangelical sectsall inspired by the figure of Christ: “The Brazilian people – the missionary told the council – lives faith with much fervor, even showy: blasphemy does not exist and religious images stand out even on trucks. Different churches have relied on this sentiment, sects mostly based on a theology of retribution. In summary, salvation would pass from the ability to donate as much of the little or as much as one possesses to the evangelical sect to which one belongs, which thus acquires power and money. There are about 4,300 officially registered religious denominations in Brazil and the vast majority are sects, but there are many more if we also consider the unofficial ones. Catholic parishes, with a social and humanitarian vocation, are often put in difficulty by this sort of competition. The Archbishop of Sao Luis he asked me to take care of the administrative matters of the diocese and parishes, a task that I will carry out with the utmost transparency”.
Luca Bianucci concludes: “As a teenager, a swineherdsI have learned the importance of respect for each other, of closeness to any human being, regardless of physical or social conditions. I have learned to embrace, to reach out a hand, and I have brought this baggage of values with me to Brazil over the years. I think above all of the years spent in the leper colony of Acre. The second half of my life, spent away from here, has taught me total acceptance and the joy of living. Love for life as life, perceptible even in the humblest and most marginalized. Here, however, something is wrong: there is a widespread tendency to depression, not to find pleasure in anything. And it is a real pity that awareness of the value of life does not exist, or has been lost”.