The Community does not ask for any “payment” from the families of those who are welcomed into the various houses but what is asked for is the commitment to conversion, a walk in the Christian way of life parallel to that which their son or daughter is doing within the community. Experience over the years has shown that the rebirth of the lads and girls depends also on the commitment of their parents and that they discover the importance of the family which is why the Parent Meetings take place. It is important that as many parents and family members do attend whenever possible.
The annual Cenacolo Parents Retreat for UK parents was held on Saturday 23rd February at Boarbank Hall.
On arrival we were warmly welcomed by the Sisters who run the facility with plenty of tea, coffee and biscuits to refresh us. Others from the Liverpool group, together with parents from around the country, were in attendance.
The day then commenced with everyone introducing themselves followed by DVDs. The first DVD was of the community in Italy about 15 years ago doing a play about the 4 seasons which was very funny and had everyone laughing. The play was acted out by girls from the Community and some of their children. The girls who took part successfully turned their lives around through the Cenacolo way of life.
It truly showcased the talent and creativity of those within the Cenacolo Community given the time and space to be themselves without the pressures and distractions of the modern world and oppression of addiction. It also showed that although the spiritual side of community is at its very heart, those in community also have time to enjoy themselves!
The next DVD showed Mother Elvira at the 1st Anniversary Mass for the opening of the Cenacolo house in Kendal, with Father Michael and the Bishop in attendance. One of the girls who had been in the previous DVD acted as interpreter for Sr. Elvira. Sr. Elvira spoke with love, warmth and humour of the boys and girls and illustrated her wisdom around the ethos of the Cenacolo Community.
The afternoon session provided a chance to hear testimonies from two parents who had been to the “Cherasco“ house in Italy for experience and also from two of the young women who had been part of the Cenacolo experience. One had only recently returned home to England after five years and will be starting back at University next year. Both girls were fantastic examples of how, with the help of God, they had turned their lives around for the better and left addiction far behind them.
Following the testimonies session it was time for the group to move to the Chapel for rosary and Mass which was celebrated by Fr. Michael. We were able to include our Cenacolo prayers within the Mass. After Mass, time was set aside for those who wished to take part in adoration in front of the beautiful tabernacle.
After a final cup of tea it was time to wish everyone well and a final goodbye until we meet up again. Travelling back to Liverpool everyone felt uplifted with renewed hope in their hearts and thankful to all who had made the journey and taken part to make it such a joyous day.