Voices
Melissa Vida is America’s Brussels correspondent.
An elderly woman wears a protective face mask as she walks with shopping bags during the COVID-19 pandemic in Barcelona, Spain, April 1, 2020. (CNS photo/Nacho Doce, Reuters)
Politics & SocietyDispatches
Melissa Vida
In Europe, there is a broad consensus that the elderly have suffered the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic—some have called it a “silent massacre.”
A woman carries bottles of water at a temporary camp for refugees on the island of Lesbos, Greece, Feb. 6, 2020. (CNS photo/Elias Marcou, Reuters) 
Politics & SocietyDispatches
Melissa Vida
Around Europe, asylum seekers typically live in crowded shelters or detention centers, makeshift refugee camps or on the streets.
Secondary school students get to work in September at the Matteo Ricci school in Brussels. Photo courtesy of Matteo Ricci.
Politics & SocietyDispatches
Melissa Vida
Jesuits in Belgium wanted to launch a new school that would reach less-affluent communities, but they were also keenly interested in connecting with “people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.”
FaithDispatches
Melissa Vida
On Oct. 14, 2018, he was canonized by Pope Francis. Today, Salvadorans ask themselves what the transition from “Msgr. Romero”—what he has been called in El Salvador for decades—to “St. Romero” means for his legacy.
Tourists peer through protection panels securing a perimeter around the Notre Dame Cathedral ahead of the start of a massive lead decontamination in Paris, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
FaithDispatches
Melissa Vida
Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, the rector and archpriest of Notre-Dame, would like to restore the cathedral exactly as it had been before the fire. That would mean recreating the great wooden attic, nicknamed “the forest,” that was consumed in the blaze.
People enjoy the sun and the fountains of the Trocadero gardens in Paris, on Thursday July 25, 2019, when a new all-time high temperature of 42.6 degrees Celsius (108.7 F) hit the French capital. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Politics & SocietyDispatches
Melissa Vida
People fainted on public transport in England. In Paris schools postponed exams, and the heat wave aggravated wildfires in Spain and Portugal. In Scandinavia it hastened Arctic melt.
President Nayib Bukele and his wife Gabriela at the inaugural in Plaza Barrios in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 1, 2019. Official twitter account
Politics & SocietyDispatches
Melissa Vida
Salvadorans have high hopes for the new president’s leadership. El Salvador suffers one of the world’s highest murder rates, and a third of its population lives below the poverty line.
A Latin American family gathers at Notre Dame aux Riches Claires in Brussels. Photo by Melissa Vida.
Politics & SocietyDispatches
Melissa Vida
In a country where the Hispanic community is dispersed and Latin American restaurants and organizations are few, Notre Dame aux Riches Claires is the go-to gathering place for migrants and refugees who want to be reminded of home.
People walk past a sculpture with the Euro currency logo outside the European Parliament building in Brussels on May 15, 2019. Europeans from 28 countries will head to the polls May 23-26 to choose lawmakers to represent them at the European Parliament for the next five years. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Politics & SocietyDispatches
Melissa Vida
The far right has been splintered among several parties in the European Parliament. But if the movement wins more seats and unites behind a pan-European party, it could become decisive in continental politics.
Prayers for Our Lady. Photo by Melissa Vida.
FaithDispatches
Melissa Vida
The air was still thick with smoke and the ash burnt the eyes of the onlookers, who were relieved to see the cathedral still standing. For many Catholics, the coincidence of the blaze occurring at the start of Holy Week speaks of the greater mysteries of Easter.