This year’s festival had as its theme: God Provides, (Mt 6: 25-34)
It is one of the main stays of Cenacolo for the Community to live simply on Divine Providence. Whatever they eat or wear, any vehicles they have or houses they inhabit – all come from Divine Providence, all is gift.
Below are the reflections of a few of the lads in our Lady Queen of Martyr’s House on their time at the Festa della Vita.
I am really thankful for the gift to go to the festival of life. It was an amazing time. While I was there I felt a powerful sense of peace and positivity that filled the air. It was a big gift to share in the joy of the festival with my mother, father, and sister. I also felt a lot of friendship and unity with my brothers throughout the weekend. During the moments of adoration, the words spoken by the priests and the songs played by the choir combined to make a beautiful atmosphere which made me really understand and appreciate the gift of life.
I enjoyed participating in the English speaking day with my house and my friends and family from America. The day was a lot of fun and I thought the monastery was fantastic. My house (Our Lady Queen of Martyrs) received the gift to spend some time with Mother Elvira before we came back to England. What a great experience! I’m really thankful to have personally listened to her words of love and joy. My first trip to Italy is one I will never forget, and I’m happy to have left with a smile on my face.
First of all I would like to thank the community for the big gift to go to Italy for the festival of life. It was the third time I have attended the festival, but I always seem to a have a new experience and find it to be a great growth for my faith, especially during the moments of mass, adoration and catechism. The atmosphere of the festival makes me feel as though am I part of a big family and gives me the opportunity to see my friends of the community that I have shared time during my walk with.
It also appreciated the gift to be able to spend time with my family, and to see them continuing in their walk with me, especially with my father I have been able to clean up our relationship and how our it has grown in trust and freedom to be open with each other. I was grateful for the chance to travel with my whole house (Our Lady Queen of Martyrs) and share with them the experience of the festival and English day. It was the first time I attended the English day, and it was a great to see how much the community has expanded to different parts of the world. The highlight of the trip for me was to be able to meet Mother Elvira and spend time with her on a personal level and to be able to listen to the words she spoke to us and was moved by what she said and the kindness and simplicity of her. The whole trip made me realize how thankful I am to the community for the ability to find the joy of like again and the strength to go forward in my walk in the community. Thanks be to GOD!!!!
I want to thank the community for the gift to be able to travel with my house Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in England to the Festival of Life. It was my first time attending the festival and I had heard a lot of things about it and didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Italy for the first time. When we arrived in Saluzzo, I was amazed at what I saw and could feel the positive atmosphere right away. My family arrived a short time after I did and it was great to share our first experience at the Festival of Life together, and I felt extremely lucky that they were able to come especially my cousin who I haven’t see in almost two years. I always appreciate the gift to see my family but since we were able to share in the times of adoration and mass together I feel the week brought us a lot closer, and the time we spent together talking and laughing I realized how much community has healed my family. Also being able to spend time with guys that I have done my walk with and their families gave me a great feeling of friendship between us. I was amazed seeing the great faith of thousands of people all praying during adoration or during mass and it gave me a really cool feeling, something I never got in a normal mass or adoration but the power of the faith between so many people really astonished me. On the English day I enjoyed the beautiful monastery and the day I was able to share with my family and the other families and enjoyed the moments of testimony from members and parents of the community. It was also great to see Albino and Joyce and share how my walk in Europe is going.
Our house was given the great gift to meet Mother Elvira. I felt very lucky to be able to spend time with her at the house in Pagno and listen to the words that she spoke to us. I was blown away by her enthusiasm for her faith and her words to us about love, it is something I will take with me throughout the rest of my walk and my life. The trip gave me a lot to bring forward with me on my walk and showed me how strong the faith can be. I appreciate all the gifts I received on our trip and will carry it with me back to England. Thank you.
The day following the conclusion of the Fest has become, by tradition, the English-Speaking Day. This means that the English speaking lads and girls and those who are in English Speaking Houses, together with parents and friends, meet up for a day together. This year, as at many other times in the past, the meeting was held at Certosa and ancient Carthusian monastery now used by the Consolata Fathers. It is situated in the foothill of the Alps.
A tour of the House was followed by Mass which was celebrated by Fr Michael McCormick on the anniversary of his ordination and at which Don Andrea spoke. Lunch was al fresco and was followed by the walking rosary; then into the chapel whilst boys and girls and parents gave their testimony. The event was MCd by Albino the overall Responsible in the United States. Don Stefano made the journey to Certosa and gave a most moving talk directed mainly to the parents asking them to trust in the Community. The danger he outlined was that some parents on seeing their son/daughter much recovered encourage them to leave the Community far too soon. They are judging on outward appearances and short held conversations. But very often the boy/girl is far from ready to leave the Community; much more time needs to be spent on going deeper into their hearts. Time after time when a boy/girl has left Community without the blessing of the Community they end up just as they were before. Don Stefano said that when the girl/boy entered Cenacolo, usually after trying many rehabs and detox units, the parents are desperate and would pay any amount of money to the Community. But Cenacolo does not ask for money, it asks for something much greater, that the parents learn to change their lives as their boy or girl is doing. It asks for conversion. Don Stefano pulled no punches and laid it on the line to parents: trust in the Community.