We had the grace of collaborating in an extraordinary event for which the Embassy of Belize, Rome, had contacted us in the person of Mr. H.E. Nunzio Alfred D’Angieri and his thirty-year-old son Stefano, responsible for the event. They have organized it meticulously.
On the occasion of the 37th year of independence of Belize that took place on 21 September 1981, young Stefano got the idea of celebrating the anniversary, not only with usual parties that are of interest to the ambassadors but to organize a dinner for the poor with food-service provided by the ambassadors and other invited guests. The event started at 14.30 with the arrival of the relics of St Pio of Pietrelcina coming directly from S. Giovanni Rotondo to the chapel of «istituto Maria ss. Bambina». Two capuchin priests carried it. After the exposition of the relic containing the heart of the saint at the centre of the altar, the following were also exposed: on the left side, a piece of cotton stained with blood with which padre Pio used to cover the wound in the ribs, and on the right side a shirt with a big stain of the blood on the right shoulder, the weight of the ‘cross’ that the saint felt he carried every day.
After a presentation of the life of the saint and the relics by Fr Giovanni, the faithful present in the chapel had time for prayer and personal contemplation up to 6.30 p.m. From that time onwards, many poor who were invited by the Office of the Papal Charities, the sisters of Mother Teresa and the community of St Egidio, crowded the chapel. After a welcome greeting on the part of the ambassador of Belize, Stefano, a representative of the Orthodox church and a Muslim, there were some songs sung by a Gospel group, and at 20.00 hours the guests entered the hall where 196 chairs were prepared (but the poor were 220). Around 30 persons including ambassadors and religious of various confessions, with an apron served the whole course of the dinner up to the dessert. The food was prepared by our cooks of «Pellegrini» and other four, young chefs working in famous Roman restaurants who had offered themselves to cook.
Having the direct look at the relics of the Saint and witnessing a great satisfaction of the most lonely and needy persons in being served by those who are more fortunate was a moving experience for our community that had offered the place and had helped in various ways.