A Model to Imitate
BY AWAKE! CORRESPONDENT IN CHILE
Giacomo Castelli has an apartment in Antofagasta, a city of about 170,000 in northern Chile. From his balcony last June, he observed a group of people in a local park. “What was incredible was seeing teenagers laughing and enjoying themselves together with their parents,” he wrote in a letter to the newspaper El Mercurio. To confirm this unusual sight, he went down to the park.
“I was in for another surprise,” observed the inquisitive writer. “When some of the families finished their lunch, each and every one of their members began to pick up what had been accidentally dropped on the lawn and deposit it in each one’s garbage bag. . . .
“I wanted to know who these unusual people were,” the writer continued. “I went up to a lovely girl who could easily be queen of whatever she wanted, and she very sweetly told me: ‘We are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and we are meeting at the Regional Stadium for an assembly.’” During the noon break, groups from the circuit assembly attended by over 3,000 people had gone over to the park to have their lunch.
“I am an Apostolic Roman Catholic,” the writer said. “I faithfully attend holy Mass and even made a pilgrimage to Lourdes, in France, years ago.
“However, in honor of my profound Christian upbringing, I must honestly ask myself: What do they have that we Catholics, the religion of the majority in Chile, do not have? Why do these teenagers seem so comfortable with their parents while my three daughters run from me when I even propose the idea of going out together?
“Why are our Catholic children violent; why do they shout and play ‘Power Rangers’ while hitting other children, . . . whereas these children are peaceable, wholesomely cheerful, and ecology minded? Why can’t we Catholics get together in assemblies without being caught up in the odious commercialism that surrounds our most holy religious places, such as the shrines La Tirana, Andacollo, and others?”
The writer, Mr. Castelli, concluded his letter to the newspaper with the question: “Will those of us who consider ourselves Catholics and Christians ever become like them? May God and the Virgin help us to do so.”