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Interview Portuguese Spanish    
Year 6 - N° 289 – December 2, 2012
Londres, Inglaterra (Reino Unido)
Leonardo Rocha - l.rocha1989@gmail.com

Antônio da Cruz Leal:

“Spiritism is the light
on my path”

Our fellow Portuguese Spiritist, who has been in London for two decades, talks about his work in the British capital

Antônio da Cruz Leal (photo) was born in Aveiro, Portugal, and has lived in London since 1991. Since joining the Spiritist Movement 18 years ago he became an enthusiastic, hard-working volunteer. He is a founding member of the Solidarity Spiritist Society and has fulfilled different roles at the British Union of Spiritist  Societies  (BUSS).  He  has  also

engaged in a beautiful campaign called Operation Christmas Child, of which Antonio Leal talks about in this interview: 

Tell us about your participation in the Spiritist Movement in the United Kingdom.

The invitations began coming to me as soon as I joined the Movement. The Solidarity Spiritist Society has now celebrated its 15th anniversary. I’ve been its vice-president and took part in many projects. I was also a treasurer and counsellor at BUSS. 

What is your main activity in the Movement now?

I coordinate the study group at Solidarity and I am also in charge of a charity project and fraternal assistance, or counselling. At our British Federation, BUSS, I am in charge of the audiovisual side of big events and coordinate Operation Christmas Child. 

When was your first contact with Spiritism?

About 18 years ago. I must emphasize, however, that I first got in touch with other forms of Spirituality much earlier in my life, through relatives in Portugal. That is what we then believed was Spiritism. Later, I came to realise what I had come across was not really Spiritism. 

Is there any event or circumstance that led to that first contact with the Teachings?

I had serious doubts about the version of Spiritualism I found in Portugal. I was fatalistic and mystified many of the day-to-day facts of life. I needed a safe link to be able to move forward. It wats pain and the help of a good friend that brought me into Spiritism. I felt I was prepared to receive the Teachings. That is when my past doubts were cleared and “truth liberated me”.  

What was your family’s reaction?

It was good and positive, but no one really understood the step forward I was making. 

Which one of the three aspects of Spiritism – science, philosophy and religion – means the most to you?

Certainly the religious aspect, but I have spent most of my time and energy studying the scientific approach of the Teachings. 

What Spiritist book would you pick as a special one to you? Why?

“Fifty Years After,” by the spirit Emmanuel and written in trance by Chico Xavier. It was the first Spiritist book I ever read and it made a big impression on me. 

You are the coordinator of the Operation Christmas Child 2012. Tell us a bit more about the campaign.

The idea is to send presents to poor children in shoeboxes. Many schools, churches and other organisations in Britain take part in the campaign. The boxes I then taken to or picked up by the Samaritans Purse, a charity that checks the contents and send the boxes to the various national processing centres. The UK contributed with 1.1 million boxes last year, destined mainly to Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa. This is the seventh year British Spiritist Groups take part in the campaign. 

How did you get in touch with the Samaritans?

Two Spiritist friends got other Spiritists engaged in the campaign for the first time in 2005. We realised the Spiritist participation would die out unless we did something about it. We at the Solidarity Spiritist Group then got engaged and got another Spiritist Group involved. The campaign has grown steadily. More than 2,500 children around the world have so far received Christmas presents sent by Spiritists in the UK. We are encouraged to continue collaborating with the campaign for two main reasons: the Samaritans’ amazing organisation skills and the strong international credibility of the Samaritans Purse International Relief. 

What is your expectation for this year’s campaign?

The campaign has continued to grow, year after year, even during the worst period of the economic crisis in Europe. The number of boxes we despatch is important indeed, but the number of Spiritist volunteers working in the campaign is equally or more relevant. This is about encouraging the practice of charity. If we manage to prepare more boxes than last year, in other words, if we have more than 700 boxes, that will be new evidence that as we work together our love is strengthened and manages to move new barriers. 

What is the main lesson you have taken from all those years in the Christmas campaign?

This is something very important in my life. I have helped give this job structure and identity and it now walks with its own legs. All Spiritist Centres have welcomed, many friendships have been made in this process. The trust and confidence of everyone has been immensely gratifying. But the most important and inspiring is seeing every year the smile of the children who get their little present. For many of them, it is the first present they get in their lives. 

And finally, what does Spiritism mean to you? How important is it in your life?

Spiritism is the light on my path. The Teachings renewed the values and the faith that keep me standing. There is no way back, as everything became part of my way forward and new conquests. I thank God specially for allowing me to build a family within Spiritism and for seeing my children growing with Spiritism within their hearts. I thank Jesus for calling me into action. And thanks for this opportunity, for the attention and affection from O Consolador. I wish that the voice of compassion that speaks loudly inside of all of us leads us towards the practice of charity and love. 




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O Consolador
Weekly Magazine of Spiritism