Saturday 18 August 2018

b_300_300_16777215_00_images_stories_Csaba_levelek_Vegyes_39497750_1874823229259953_688888616562196480_n.jpgFather Csaba’s reflections on the gospel….  Saturday 18 August 2018
We took in the first children in Déva 25 years ago ! As a spiritual leader for the youth , I organised several camps , meetings for the young people, children. At the end of summer , after many successful programs we still had a little money left, and with my colleagues we organised a camp for the  poor, begging children who were hanging around our presbytery ! We took in between 25-30 children to the presbytery where we organised many cheerful, witty programs …Already on the first day armed with a litre of shampoo and lots of soap we went to a nearby river, the Strigy, where the battle of Piski took place as well, we  scrubbed the children well, dressed them in nice , clean clothing , and from that moment on the little street-smart , timid street-kids became wonderful, happy friends! In the light of our love , just as the fruit tree , in the spring sunshine bursts into flowers , they were laughing, playing , they were beautiful ! The summer was great with them ! At the end of the camp I told them, that this was it , the play has ended , I blew them a kiss , you can go home ! The children were looking with big, widely opened eyes ,then one of the little girls spoke with a teary voice : “but why can’t we have a camp for a whole year ?!” We had a good laugh , the after a great pillow fight , that seemingly solved the weepy mood , the children fell asleep ,but   I was tossing and turning in my bed ! The ideas were swirling in my head …why should we not have a camp lasting for a year  ?!…After all the children did not go to school last year either , neither will they go this year , so why would not I take them in , they could attend school from here… Of course the thought also occurred to me , that we live in Romania , where the authorities want to have control over everything , where there are no laws , but we have no financial resources either …. As I was tossing and turning  in my bed , it became clearer and clearer to me that God’s will is to share my bread with the hungry , to take the children into our home ! The following morning we set out to fulfil the will of God!! On 15 September 1993 we were standing there at the school year opening ceremony of the largest Romanian school close to us with twenty sweet  , nicely washed and dressed  street children! There were no parents but I took the members of the women’s association of Déva , who following the example of the parents gave flowers to everybody there ! The close to two thousand children, teachers were very happily listening to the speeches at the opening ceremony of the school year , we also clapped  nicely , then at the end of the celebrations the school principal came to me asking who we were ? I told her that  the children were enrolled into the Hungarian section of the local school ! “ But there is nothing like this here “ replied the principal very angrily … So this is how 25 years ago the child protection started in Déva ! There were a lot of anxious moments, threats , even crying but..all is well if it ends well ! Those grubby little children grew up, became taxpaying citizens , established families , a by now they are parents of 2-3 children ! It is good to sit down with them and reminiscing about the good old days over a beer ! Yes we started a new life in 1993 and today there is plenty to talk about !
We open the door to those knocking !!!During the 25 years we took in close to 6000 children , close to four thousand have finished their studies and “flew the nest” ! The Saint Francis Foundation right from the start wanted to be like a big tree on which the birds of heaven can land , they can make their nest on its branches , prepare a hollow in its trunk , and if they so wish can fly on any time ! I would not want to build a cage for anybody ! The nearest blood relative , or guardian selected by the state , can look me up any time and if they have problems , in the name of God  , in writing can ask us to take, accept the child into our care. Naturally we will look into the situation , the reasons, the  problems  , and if the physical, mental, spiritual  integrity of the child is endangered , then we will take the child in with love . Naturally if the circumstances , problems , illness that were the reasons for taking the child in , change for the better then we gladly return the children to their parents or guardian who asked for our help ! 
To move on ! Our work is  infinitely simple ! We are trying to take over the role of the parents partially or totally ! In cases where there is either a grandmother or an uncle , there its simpler on weekends , or during the vacations , we visit them, try to keep in touch ! In any case during the school year our children also go to kindergarten , school ! Of course the multiplication table and the other challenges of the school are “avoidable” for our children as well, soccer , playing , a popular grape harvest festival, or a new year's eve party are much more exciting , popular “occupations “ ! There are times when we praise  happily our children , but there are also times when with a sad heart we have to chide them just like any other parent ! During the school year our time is mainly filled by studying , however during vacations excursions, camps, bathing/ swimming make the lives of our homes more colourful ! At present we  are getting ready with around 2000 children on 83 different locations for the 2018-2019 school year ! 
According to many our children are much more attached to each other also, but perhaps to adults as well , perhaps they are more grateful for receiving something than children growing up with their own flesh and blood parents ! One fact is that after a serious illness we ourselves also appreciate our health much more than when everything went well ! Children before they get to us undergo a  shorter or longer period of uncertainties of existence in their lives . So its natural that they appreciate a soft , warm bed or a nice lunch , the kind word of the carer more than their contemporaries , for whom this was a natural part of their childhood ! 
God does not create any rejects ! Many are asking what did I experience in the midst of so many children ?! One thing is certain, every child is a blessed masterpiece of God , a gift for all of us !! When we take in a new child I usually say to the colleagues , who knows we maybe taking in the next centuries József Attila or Bartók Béla ! One cannot know what is present in a child , the child  does not know it either , that is why the teaching profession is so wonderful, so interesting ! The way one unwraps a gift under a Christmas tree , in reality this is what a good pedagogue is doing as well, helps the development  of the child entrusted in their care! Slowly , patiently , undoing the knots from under the many layers of the wrapping paper , to uncover those values, treasures by which our world will be more beautiful, liveable , habitable ! Yes Jesus started a dialogue with Saul driven by murderous temper, and by the end of the dialogue Saul becomes Saint Paul, the apostle of the people , who at the end of his life humbly writes the most beautiful poem in the history of the world , translated to most languages , most often published  “The Hymn of Love” ! I believe that in the heart of every child there is a Beautiful Hymn of love and, whether this comes to the surface , whether this becomes a common property , most of the time depends on us the child, the adults! 
It’s good to do good ! Within the Saint Francis Foundation over 500 employees turned up,! Together with the volunteers, our supporters I can  easily say that more than a thousand of us worked just so our children may have everything ! There were some who only stayed for a couple of years , but they were many who pledged themselves for many -many years side by side with the children ! Thanks be to God I nurture a good relationship with all of them , and all of them say that the nicest part of their lives was when they lived together with the children ! It is not easy to be on  “standby" for 24 hours a day beside the children , often it is not easy to  console a crying child  or calm down a teenager , at the parent-teacher nights to listen to the complaints of the teachers!  It is not easy to raise a child , but this is such a work that is such a challenge that is meaningful, that is about real life , that moves one out of the selfish solitude , that gives a meaning to  getting up in the morning, to the daylong work ! It is quite certain that the joy of  the honest work well done is the purest joy that we can take part in in this world ! I often say to my dear colleagues, volunteers, supporters that when the time comes and you’ll be knocking at the door of the kingdom of heaven and Jesus  Christ will call out through the door to ask you as to who you are , then answer bravely : You little rascal , how You have grown don’t You recognise me ? You know I was the one who taught You  at that time in Déva, Szászváros, Szováta, Tusnádfürdő ! Then Jesus' glance will light up and lovingly will tell you: but of course I remember , you were the one who at the time took me in in the name of my heavenly Father , now I am taking you into the kingdom of heaven , to the heavenly feast , come and sit at my right side ! 
The world is a better place with us ! Getting ready for the 25th jubilee together with my colleagues I was looking at some length at the list of names, the photos, and we were discussing was there ever or is there now such a child, colleague whom we should not have taken in ? We could say something good, something funny, interesting about everybody , and we felt that we did a good service to those who in those days when we opened the door to those who knocked at our door , because by that person we became richer , more ! I could not name any child or adult who would have not been the blessing of our creator God ! At the end of my letter I encourage you all , to dare to say yes to life, dare to share your life with the children either your blood relatives , or as we did it following the example of Saint Joseph, who not by the will of the flesh and blood became the foster father of the little Jesus but by the request of the heavenly Father ! 
With love,
Father Csaba 
translated by dr k.e.
Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs." And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
Matthew 19:13-15