The facilities of the Mission
The Missione of Hope and Charity welcome in five different communities:
The community at Via Archirafi n.31, entitled “Mission of Hope and Charity”;
The community at Via Garibaldi n.3, entitled “Female Reception”;
The community at Via Decollati n.29, entitled “Citadel of Poor and Hope”;
The community in Tagliavia, where the Mission farm takes place;
The community at Villa Florio.
The Night Mission is a night meeting with excluded people in our society, whom we call “last brothers”: homeless, immigrants, prostitutes, drug addicts. The first commitment is dedicated right at the meeting with the brothers called homeless, people without a permanent address who live and sleep on the street, who choose a sidewalk, an old car, a bench, who do not want to abandon the weak stability they have reached after several schocks, fears, missing answers by the society. They cut ties with the latter and they do not trust anybody.
The Night Mission was born aiming to reach during the night these brothers, giving them the chance of a comfort in order to let them feel non-excluded by the society, preserving at the same time their private life’s respect.
On sundays, from 1st November to 31st May, at 9 pm, a camper leaves the Mission building full of flasks with milk and hot tea, snacks, sandwiches and cans of food; it is processed food because of the fact that sometimes the brothers do not trust it unpackaged; besides the camper is equipped with clothes, blankets and over-the-counter medicines, whenever they are needed.
Only come-of-age people are allowed to take part in the Night Mission.
If you like to start this voluntary service you need to partecipate to a introductory meeting of the Mission which takes place every third Saturday of the month at 4 pm; afterwards you will be asked to fill out the application form and deliver it to the Mission, reading carefully the attached rules.
To contact the Responsible person, Ottavio Amato, send an e-mail to the following address: :
Inside the three buildings about 900 people in total are welcomed.
The Mission does not have a specific deadline of permanence in the community: we welcome brothers and sisters until they find an independent house to live in.
The Mission of Hope and Charity, via Archirafi 31 (former local sanatorium abandoned for 30 years) welcomes about 130 men. Most of those brothers (so-called ‘barbons’) used to live on the street and thanks to the Night Mission they have been led to the community and recovered from a critical condition of exclusion and abandonment. In this Mission those who are suffering more are welcomed: we talk about people who need treatments because of chronic diseases or physical and mental disabilities. There are also chronic alcoholics, who we try to set free from the trap of alcohol thanks to craft activities or farm work, the latter made in a farmland in the countryside near Palermo..
The Female Reception, via Garibaldi 3 (former Convent of St Catherine abandoned for about 24 years) welcomes approx. 120 homeless sisters, especially single women and mums with their children.
Most of the accepted sisters are single mothers or women left behind by their families.
There are also women with mental disabilities or forme prostitutes who have decided to start a new life.
Since 2003 we welcome a lot of foreing women who are refugees from Africa, single or pregnant or with children. Some of them, survived to the so-called ‘journey of hope’, once released from the hospital, have been accepted into the Mission as they look for treatments, peace and tranquillity.
The Citadel of the Poor and Hope, via Decollati 29 (former house of the air force abandoned for about 40 years) is the second male community inside the Mission and was born in order to respond to the amount of cries for help by hundreds of refugees from Africa and Asia.
In this community about 700 brothers in 7 different dorms are welcomed. Most of the accepted brothers in it are young adult boys, political refugees, asylum seekers or international protection permit’s holders.
Inside the Mission we have dedicated a dorm to cure those brothers who are sick or strongly debilitated after surviving the so-called ‘journey of hope’, with which they reached the Sicilian coasts.
A lot of the brothers, after regaining some strenght, decide to leave the Mission in order to find a job out of it (allowing the Mission to accept new brothers). On the other hand, some of them decide to live a bit more inside the Mission, often because of the lenght of bureaucratic procedures to issue the residence permit. In this case they help the community by learning both the italian language and a job.
canteen service for the poor
Each of the three communities is equipped with a kitchen and a lunchroom where three meals are distributed every single day of the week to all the brothers and sisters. Kitchen and cleaning services are carried out by themselves, led by missionaries and volounteers inside the Mission.
Every day 2,100 meals are prepared: breakfast, lunch and dinner to all the hosts of the three communities (700 people benefit from the service on average!).
130 kg of pasta and 100 litres of milk are consumed on a daily basis, as well as 80 kg of legumes, 100 kg of peeled, 90 kg of cheese, 200 kg of meat, 150 kg of fish, 150 boxes of eggs and so on.
Most of these foods (especially long-life staple foods) are donated by associations such as Banco Alimentare or individual citizens, schools, supermarkets, food companies and so on. On the other hand, fresh foods (fruit and vegetables), needed to prepare a complete meal, cannot be donated and have to be bought at the wholesale market.
L'activité d'assistance de la mission s'adresse également aux familles nécessiteuses qui vivent dans les quartiers les plus pauvres de Palerme. Actuellement, 360 familles reçoivent de l'aide de la mission, pour un total d'environ 1000 personnes.
Lorsque des nouveau-nés sont présents dans les familles assistées, du lait pédiatrique et homogénéisé est donné.
IInside the Mission you can find doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, teachers, retired workers, students and other people operating as volounteers. Thanks to voluntary services organised by the Mission, a lot of citizens know in a more complete way the sufference of the last brothers, having the chance to see their work as a useful instrument able to serve other people living in a difficult situation.
Medical and nursing assistance:
Every day, in a little clinic, volounteer doctors make professional activity. They make appointments of general medicine and surgery and more specific ones: ophthalmology, ENT, dental, dermatological and paediatric. Some rooms in the three communities of the Mission are equipped as an infirmary for those brothers, often chronically sick, who need medical observation and a closer assistance.
Assistance to people with disabilities:
On Sundays a group of volounteers is alternatively engaged to bring some brothers with disabilities whom wish to participate to the Mass celebrated into the Mission on Sunday evening or to walks during the week.
Legal assistance and cultural mediation:
This voluntary service is mainly destined to many refugees coming out the State reception centre who are disoriented and looking for reception. Some voluntary lawyers, experienced in laws about immigration, offer a service of legal advise (or just an information one) about the refugees’ rights and duties, and so do about the access to the asylum application procedure. Besides that, thanks to the help of a previously recepted brother, who speaks several languages and african dialects, the Mission offers a service of mediation, support and orientation for the access to the various offices and municipal and hospital services (identity card, fiscal code, specific visits in the hospital and so on).
During winter, with the help of the cultural mediator, night literacy classes are organised by volounteers for foreign brothers who have been accepted into the Mission.
Volunteering, Education and Integration
The activity offered by the Mission is not destined to welfarism, but to recover the dignity of those who have found themselves on the margins of society and ofter are rejected and deemed irrecovereable.
Thanks to the voluntary activities made by artisans and freelancers, we try to give hope to the welcomed brothers giving the chance to learn a job, enhancing the time they spend into the Mission and offering tools to quickly experience the way back into the society and a correct integration into the public context, in particular for many foreign brothers welcomed inside the Mission.
Thanks to help and advices by some volounteers, the recepted brothers are able to make fixtures, doors and windows needed in the three communities. A particular effort is dedicated to creating small objects and artifacts (crucifixes, icons, etc.) that are donated to volounteers and visitors.
Blacksmith and welder:
In this workshop many brothers learn how to make gutters, doors, gates, windows with iron or aluminium.
Thanks to this formation and to the experience gained inside the Mission some guys have been able to integrate into the labour market more easily.
Starting from waste material and cuttings of rags, otherwise wasted, we make sandals for missionaries and keychains that are donated to benefactors and citizens coming to visit the Mission.
Thanks to the experience and the good will of a voluntary who has previously worked as a litographer, we got an old printing machine working, so that we could make up a little typography where some of the brothers have been learning how to print holy cards, calendars, brochures, books and postcards that are donated to benefactors and spreaded for information purposes.
Brother Giovanni, who was a master builder before joining the missionary life, has quickly made his experience available to restore the buildings used by the Mission which were in ruins and at the same time to teach how to be a bricklayer to a lot of brothers who eventually find a job thanks to the experience gained into the Mission.
Each community is equipped with a professional kitchen, as a result of donations by citizens and associations; a lot of brothers, coordinated and guided by those who are more experienced, ask us to help inside the kitchen to gain some useful experience that will help them get in the catering industry.
Inside the Mission several workshops have been started: ceramic, iconography, painting, sculpture. In here we give space to the creativity of many artistic talents that have been welcomed in the Mission over the past few years. As an example, we talk about some great paintings that you can find in the building in Via Archirafi made by a brother in foster care from the jail; not to mention the human-sized nativity scenes exposed during Christmas time inside the Central Staion in Palermo that have been made by a voluntary sculptor, helped by brothers in the Mission. Finally we would like to remember the interesting compositions made by one of the brothers with waste material (clothespins, old clocks, etc.).
Tailor and laundry:
This training activity is conducted thanks to a brother with a refugee status, who decided to make his experience as a tailor available to teach the job to other brothers, both foreign and Italian. In this workshop missionaries’ habits are made; moreover, thanks to the fantasy the brothers put in their works they are able to recycle donated clothes in order to pillowcases, blankets, sheets, little hats, etc.
Thanks to the donation of a professional chef’s oven we could create a little bakery where the art of baking is taught to the guys recepted into the Mission; at the same time enough bread for each of the three communities is guaranteed, up to 220 kg per day. A pastry workshop is being planned, where a lot of brothers will be taught the secrets of the famous Sicilian pastry-making.