OMIWorld & VaticanNews—“Anna’s House” is celebrating 25 years since it was founded by Italian missionary, Fr. Vincenzo Bordo, OMI, also known as “God’s Chef”, who has served more than 30 million meals and saved hundreds of children from the streets.
Father Vincenzo Bordo, OMI, also known by the nickname “God’s Chef”, is an Italian missionary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who has served in South Korea for 30 years.
It was there that he founded “Anna’s House,” an institution committed to working with people living on the streets of Seoul: street children, homeless people, and elderly people who have been abandoned by their families.
Celebrating 25 Years
This year, “Anna’s house” is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its foundation.
CBJ—We HIGHLY encourage you to watch this short video, if only to experience for yourself Fr. Vincenzo’s inspiring heart ….a perfect Thanksgiving inspiration! (some real gems as you keep watching)
“I would like to use this anniversary to remind Korean society of the reality of the poor and to help volunteers grow in this dimension of service to others. I would also like it to be an occasion to collect donations,” Fr. Vincenzo told the Vaticans’ Fides news agency ahead of World Mission Sunday, on 22 October.
Anna’s House carries out its mission by receiving half its operating budget from government subsidies and the other half from donations from the faithful.
More than 3 Million Meals, plus…
From 1998 until March 2022, Anna’s House served more than 3 million meals, subsidized 21,000 health interventions, and assisted with 1,000 dental treatments.
The charity provided 6,000 psychiatric counseling and treatment sessions and 700 legal consultations, as well as offering personal hygiene services and distributing clothes.
Above all, Anna’s House has offered “great respect and love for the people who live on the streets of a rich but often neglectful city,” says Fr. Vincenzo.
‘People did not want to see the poor’
Some might think that missionaries are not called to economically-developed country with a wealth of local clergy, such as South Korea.
However, “it is not that the poor are not there,” according to Korean Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy, in his preface to a book by Fr. Vincenzo.
“It is that the people did not want to see them,” he wrote. “Seeing the excluded requires a gaze of faith and love. This is the way our Oblates look at our country.”
In Seong-Nam City, the local community also claimed there were no homeless people or people living on the streets. Fr. Vincent began encountering homeless on his own initiative and soon welcomed over two hundred to Anna’s House, many of them teenagers.
Local authorities also claimed that a home for street children was a useless facility because there were no street children. In spite of that, already in 1998, Fr. Vincenzo welcomed more than twenty children and offered them a home. They received a proper education, found jobs and were helped by volunteers and psychologists, all aiming toward their full reintegration into society.
Fr. Vincenzo’s book: Seoul’s Cardinal LOVES IT!
“The Love that nourishes“, Fr. Vincenzo’s book, has been translated from Korean into Italian (we could not find it in English yet—ed.) and the Italian translation is entitled “Chef per amore“. The book aims to expand support for the work of “Anna’s House” in Seong-nam, on the outskirts of Seoul.
In South Korea, the book was a huge success with 10,000 copies sold and 5 reprints. The Italian Embassy to Korea supported the translation and its publication in Italy.
The book on Fr. Vincenzo’s work is “an extraordinary witness of faith and love. It is not only a report of charity at work, but also of the mystery that nourishes charity: silent and long prayer, constant reading and meditation of the Word of God. The witness of a living and active faith that knows how to care for others is the royal path of evangelization even in today’s world,” says Cardinal You Heung-sik.
As Jesus explained the Scripture to the disciples on the road “their hearts burned within them”, also “their eyes were opened as they recognized him”, says the Pope. Ultimately, “their feet set out on the way”.
- At ‘Anna’s House,’ to Live Again —OMI World