Philadelphia and Atlanta: Gen Verde’s U.S. Tour continues

Our U.S. Tour moves on with stops in Philadelphia and Atlanta

Our U.S. Tour moves on with stops in Philadelphia and Atlanta.

The first three weeks of our US tour have flown by… but the experiences we are having makes us feel like we have been here forever.

Our days with the Vincentians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

After New York, we spent 3 days in Philadelphia, deepening our friendship with the Vincentian Family and their spirituality. Their love for the poor and all who meet them is a very strong testimony to the life and vitality of their charism.

We stayed at the Vincentian Centre, next to the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, where on Wednesday 27 September we sang during the Mass of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul. It was also an opportunity to meet friends from the local community of the Focolare.

Gen Verde - Philadelphia, PA
Gen Verde – Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – Philadelphia, PA

During those days we also got to know a few landmarks of Philadelphia, where lots of very important places of the history of this country are, such as the Liberty Bell, the journey taken to the abolition of slavery and where the Constitution was written, called the Independence Hall.

A recap of our days in Atlanta, Georgia

Our first meeting in Atlanta was with the local Focolare community and the depth of the relationships we built made us feel as if we had known each other forever! That evening we sang during the Mass at Holy Cross Parish, where we met a very beautiful community.

Gen Verde with Diane Gregory, former member of Gen Verde - Holy Cross, Atlanta, GA
Gen Verde with Diane Gregory, former member of Gen Verde – Holy Cross, Atlanta, GA

The next day we participated in a Mass animated by a fantastic Gospel choir. Thank you to the parish Our Lady of Lourdes because we felt so welcomed by you all!

From there we went to the Martin Luther King Center and it was a very powerful experience. The testimony of Dr. King’s courage and dedication for justice and equality was powerful, inspiring and will certainly spur us on to live our ideal, “that all may be one”, because it is true, there is still a long way to go, but we have great examples to imitate..

Performing arts workshops at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Atlanta

From 2-6 October, we did our performing arts workshops with some students from the school. There were not many of them, but they were passionate, committed and talented. They proudly presented their work during our performance for over 500 young people from the school and friends of the Focolare on Friday 6 October.

Gen Verde - Performing arts workshops - Atlanta, GA
Gen Verde – Performing arts workshops – Atlanta, GA

Here is some feedback that, in a way, represent what all the participants said after the workshops:

Personally, I usually don’t put myself out there, I’m not a person who talks a lot, but this experience helped me to come out of my shell, to talk to people. I usually work alone, and here I realized that it’s more challenging to work in a group but doing it has pushed me to talk to others, to try to understand where they’re coming from… for my life from now on, I’ve learned to put myself more out there, to be more open to accepting people and their ideas“.

I usually work alone, I’m very shy. So, to participate here with everyone else, as a team, made us go through the challenges together. I think being part of a team and seeing the others, helped me not to pull back and come out of myself and my shyness“..

On 4 October we did a ‘Meet Gen Verde‘ performance for the feast of St Francis of Assisi with the community of the Holy Cross parish in Atlanta. We felt a very warm welcome from the pastor and community of this vibrant and very active parish.

Meet Gen Verde - Atlanta, GA
Meet Gen Verde – Atlanta, GA
Our Atlanta experience, summed up in the words of two members of Gen Verde

It is interesting because we shared a wonderful evening with the community of a Franciscan parish, then we finished our performing arts workshops in a school run by the Jesuits. We started the tour in New York, with the Vincentian family. So, for us, this is really an amazing journey, because seeing all these spiritualities of the Church come together, confirms to us, once again, that music is not just an excuse to bring people together, but it is indeed one of the most powerful instruments to bring the message of the Gospel to everyone around us“, the words of Christina Wang (drummer, Malaysia).

‘For me these days in Atlanta were very special, not so much because of what we accomplished or for the songs we sang, but for the preparation we had. Because first, we walked in the streets that Martin Luther King himself walked, we got to know his people, in a way. We heard a Gospel choir sing during mass, which made us pray with our bodies, with our voices”, said Alessandra Pasquali (singer and actress, Italy).

‘Personally, to sing here that ‘hatred cannot drive out the hatred, only love can do that(lyrics of the song “Solo la Luce – Only Light“, inspired by MLK), the very words of Martin Luther King, was particularly special. Because I felt that, first of all, I had to put them into practice and let them become life in me, otherwise there would have remained only a memory of this very special figure, who inspired my life and that of all Gen Verde’., concludes Alessandra.

Gen Verde - Martin Luther King Center - Atlanta, GA
Gen Verde – Martin Luther King Center – Atlanta, GA

We’re going to Texas: Houston e Corpus Christi. To know more about the events and concerts there, go to the TOUR page on our website!

Click here to read all about the first week of our U.S. Tour, in New York.