IVC New England Volunteer Eduardo Sagarnaga presented this reflection at a New England gathering earlier this month. We share it here with you.
When I started as volunteer in the IVC, I was very excited and curious. I didn’t know what was lying ahead in my new path. I didn’t even understand completely what would be my role in the corps, then I was assigned to LIFT in Somerville.
In few words, LIFT was created by a couple of college students who realized that many people with great needs were not aware of the resources available to them, like housing, legal advice, employment, food and others, due to ignorance and lack of information. So they decided to put a group of well-informed volunteer students on a task that seemed trivial and maybe a little bit light, and that was to sit alongside those in need and together seek resources to alleviate their necessities. This task entails not only looking for solutions to problems, but empathizing with the people who have them, who feel disheartened, hopeless and sad.
It is a moment of solidarity: These young people give up their free time to share the anxieties and expectations of people from different backgrounds and, most importantly, to provide a moment of what Pope Francis calls the joy of the living gospel in real moments and in the real world; or as Gregory Boyle would put it: a moment of compassion.
Working with these young people has given me an incredible opportunity: a chance to renew my hope in the new generations, a gift to dispel the bitterness of living in a world more and more materialistic, and a chance to taste the sweetness of a love that Pope Francis urges us to seek.
I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am thankful for knowing these young volunteers, for enrolling in the IVC and above all, for feeling in my own life the touch of Jesus’ love .
Eduardo Sagarnaga is in his first year as an Ignatian Volunteer in New England. He serves at LIFT at Somerville, MA. He is from Bolivia, South America. He came to the U.S.A. 16 years ago to finish his MBA and decided to stay. Eduardo is married with 3 grown children. He lives in Revere, MA with his wife, where he tries to make his living as freelancer computer programmer.