Retreat day in Birmingham

Last week we lived a full week of appointments in our fraternity; Thursday 18th we spent a lovely day in the Salesian school in Bolton; in front of a lot of students we spoke of the charisma of our community and gave our testimonies.

Saturday 20th we participated at the retreat meeting in Birmingham. After watching a video of  Mother Elvira we divided into small groups to introduce ourselves. Fr Michael celebrated Holy Mass, then we had lunch. After that we came back together for a reading of the Gospel about the road to Emmaus and then shared how we met God in our lives. Thanks to the beautiful weather we prayed the rosary outside and then we listened to some testimonies about how the Cenacolo Community has changed lives. The day ended with some songs and dances.

We want to say thank you to all the friends of our community that we met today, thank you for your support, your prayers, for your testimonies of faith and hope. We returned to our fraternity full of encouragement saying thanks to God for having chosen us in this walk of resurrection.

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Reasons to celebrate

It was a particular pleasure for the Friends of the House yesterday that, as well as enjoying being present for Mass and sharing a meal with the Lads afterwards, we were also able to join in celebrating where they were up to in their respective “walks” with 3 of the Lads.

An early, but nonetheless significant, milestone has been reached by Damian and Liam who have both completed their first month in Community whilst Bruno, the Responsible of the house, has completed 3 years in Community.

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The Lads all spoke warmly of how much the friendship and help they have received here has meant to them and Bruno told how, as well as being grateful for all that his time in Community has done for him, he felt it was an especial gift for him to have come to England – not what he probably felt when he arrived here in early December 2015 to be greeted by Storm Desmond!

As is traditional on these occasions, the Lads concerned all sang a song – with accompaniment by Sam and Mateusz on the guitar.

We congratulate them all and wish them all the very best with continuing their walks.

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Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady

Those who enter the Cenacolo Community encounter the three foundations of friendship, work and prayer. It is here that they learn again the joys of a simple way of living discovering the rhythms of an ordered life where brotherly love and service are key. This simple rhythm is punctuated with organised community events. And so it was, on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady the guys of the Kendal fraternity, after they had celebrated a festive Mass at Our Lady & St Joseph’s, Carlisle and had eaten a light lunch, made their way to Talkin Tarn and there to an adventure on the lake with the parish canoes and a very helpful parishioner instructor. They benefited from working together as a community and had great fun in the process.

This was followed by a period of Eucharistic Adoration at the little old church of Our Lady & St Wilfrid, Warwick Bridge giving thanks for the day and for the feast. And the day was rounded off by a celebratory meal in Carlisle.

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Festival of Life 2018

Tuesday 10th July: after the daily commitments we left for Liverpool where the flight to Milan brought us to Italy for the Festival of Life. Together with our brothers from the Irish House, who we met up with at the airport, we arrived at the Mother House in Saluzzo.

Thursday afternoon the Festival started with the catechism of Fr Stefano about the motto chosen for this year: Seguimi / Follow Me.  He spoke about the capacity to listen to God’s call to each one of us, to trust in His infinite love and to put in practice everything learned during our Community walk and in our relationships.  We celebrated Holy Mass and we listened to some words from our Mother Elvira.  Like every year all these events were full of singing and dancing.

On Friday the day started with the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, a catechism from Mother Elvira and some testimonies from some of the guys, including those out on the missions. A large crowd braved the very hot temperature and after dinner the tent was full of people for the new recital “Seguimi”: the story of St Peter and his relationship with Jesus.

The programme of Saturday was quite similar to Friday but in the afternoon we were happy to listen to the testimony of Tiziano, the previous responsible of the house in Kendal who is going soon to help open the new house in the Philippines. During the mass the homily was about the humanitarian disaster in Syria.

On Sunday the most significant event was the ordination of Fr Marco Lattarullo as a priest.  A beautiful moment of song and dance closed the festival with the guys and the families, emotional but happy after these days together.

Again this year we came back to the Fraternity happy for this experience, feeling energised, closer to our families, and richer from all the talks we had listened to.

The perfect motto of this festival, Seguimi, guided us to understand how it is important to listen to the will of God for each one of us, how it is beautiful to be able to serve, and how satisfying it is to give back some of the love we have received in the Community.

Another thing which astonished us was to see in each moment of the festival how many people are in the queues for confession, how important is this moment of reconciliation with God, with others, with ourselves, and the freedom that His mercy gives us.

We want to say thank you to Mother Elvira and to the Community for this gift and also to all the friends of our Fraternity who looked after everything for us while we were away, especially to the D’Arcy family who welcomed seven new piglets during our absence!

Thank you Mary for your good intentions for each one of us.  We want to put into your hands our Mother Elvira and her health. We thank you for her life, for all the miracles that you have worked through her in the 35 years of the Cenacolo Community.

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Farewell to Tiziano

Tiziano Rossi who has been in the Cenacolo fraternity in Kendal for 4 years, the last 2 as Responsible (Leader), has left to open the first Cenacolo House in Asia, in the Philippines. Tiziano will first spend a little time with his family and then will prepare for the new mission at the Cenacolo House at Pagno near the Mother House in Saluzzo, Italy.

After 4 years many friends of the House had got to know Tiziano very well. His love and dedication to Cenacolo had touched many people; his fatherly care for the guys in the House was much appreciated, and so it was no surprise that many friends came for the farewell Mass and celebration. Some had travelled many miles to be there from places are far afield as Liverpool, Wales & Carlisle. Six priests concelebrated the Mass and Tiziano was prayed over at the end of the Mass in thanksgiving for the blessings he had received and for the blessing that he had been to so many during his time in Kendal.

At the end of the Mass Tiziano spoke of his reliance of the Holy Spirit in all things and his closeness to our Blessed Lady.

Following the Mass there was a general celebration with supper served by the Community. A cake had been baked by one of the friends and was enjoyed by all present.

We pray in thanksgiving for the gift of Tiziano to our fraternity in the UK and seek God’s blessing for his work in the Philippines.  We also pray for Bruno as he takes over the role of Responsible.

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Choose to love…. my joy becomes a mission of love

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Today I can say with certainty that for me two things are really important in life: the first is to love God and to love our neighbour; the second is to understand why God has given me the gift of life. After many years lived in darkness, searching for true freedom through the “wrong things”, the Lord and Our Lady, without me deserving it, called me to be part of the Cenacolo family. During my journey, I realised that true peace, true joy, true love and faith come from holiness. This is not something which I sought but is a journey of faith proposed to me by the Cenacolo Community. When you live in love and you give your own life for others, as Jesus has done for us, your heart fills with love.

It took me a long time to forgive myself for my past, to accept and to love the person I am, to have self esteem and self control; sometimes I still have small worries for my future but I face up to them in a different way. I live a life of faith, sometimes small, but which with the help of prayer slowly, slowly increases. After a few years “from the darkness to the light” I felt in my heart the desire to leave the Community, but the love that the Lord had had for me and that which He had put in my heart for others brought me to choose to stay in Community. After having received so much life I decided to give myself and to stay longer to make the Cenacolo Community known to others and to welcome them. In doing this I received much more than what I received during the previous years of my “walk” and in this way I understood why following the commandment that Jesus left us to love God and to love one another is so important .

These last months I prayed a lot to the Lord that he would show me the right choice. I had no idea what the Lord wanted to tell me or what was the next step to take. I was conflicted between the desire for finding a new job and having a family and continuing to help guys who are lost in the world of addiction. I shared all this with the priests of our Community but also in a special way I prayed: “Lord this is what I am choosing but what do You think?” After just a few days, while I was working in the garden, I received a phone call from Fr Adrian, a priest who helped our Community in Knock, Ireland, in the missions of Peru and Liberia, Africa: he told me about his recent stay in the Philippines searching for a house in which the Community could open a new Fraternity: his enthusiasm for the places he had visited and the people who he had met really struck me: and during the phone call I wondered: “why is he speaking to me about the Philippines?” Then he continued saying that he was in Saluzzo and that the priests of the Community had asked him to look for some guys because Cenacolo was ready to respond to God’s call in that country, in Asia, and that I was one of those guys who the Lord was choosing for this mission. I felt at once a great joy but I said to him that I needed a few days to pray before giving an answer. I sought in the hands of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit the help to make the right decision according to the will of God. In those days I continued to feel joy and peace within me and I said: “Lord I want to follow you.” Today I am free and happy to leave the door of my heart always open to God.

I want to thank first of all the Community for its trust in me; Mother Elvira who with her “yes” to God has permitted me to say my own “yes” to good. Then to all the brothers I have met throughout my journey, and to the friends of the Fraternity in Kendal and to all the priests who have helped me spiritually, in a particular way from the bottom of my heart to Fr Chris.

Tiziano

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13th Anniversary Open Day

An intense Friday of work completed the final preparation for the feast of our Fraternity. We gathered in front of the house to welcome Don Massimo and Paul who came from Saluzzo: a great gift from the Community which makes us feel its affection despite the distance between us. Also this year lovely sunshine welcomed our parents for a Family Day: many smiles and a lot of emotions, especially from the brothers who were seeing them for the first time, welcomed their loved ones here in Kendal. A song of welcome and we gathered all together in the barn, transformed into a church, for the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Mass. At the end another beautiful gift prepared by the Missionary Sisters of the Resurrection: a video of Mother Elvira with some talks directed at the parents and with other moments of her life today. We ate a joyful and typical English lunch together, prepared by some of the friends of our Fraternity followed by magic tricks from our magician, Don Massimo, which lifted everybody’s spirit. At the end finally we had some free time during which we could speak, share and open our hearts with our families. After the Divine Mercy Chaplet we listened to different testimonies, particularly touching the one from Fr Chris, who shared with us how his knowledge of our Community has been a grace and how the healing of many young people that he has known throughout these years has been an even stronger motivation for his conversion. The first day of our weekend closed with a tea break.

Sunday morning we were all involved with moving all the necessary items down to the courtyard in order to create an outdoor chapel and very soon we started to welcome all the friends of our Community. Also today we had the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Mass celebrated by our new Bishop, Paul Swarbrick: simple sermon, but profoundly based on his motto “holiness before peace” and on the necessity, sometimes, to renounce something which is beautiful because this sacrifice may bear fruit. We were reminded by this about many Community teachings in giving ourselves for love. It was then time for lunch, lasagne, shepherd’s pie and beautiful tiramisú, and we gathered again for a moment of prayer and testimonies of some of the brothers. The day ended with dancing and songs and farewells to our guests and parents with the hope of seeing everybody again for the Nativity Play in December.

We want to thank the Community for all the beautiful moments we have lived and especially for the presence of Don Massimo and Bishop Paul.

Thank you Mary because also this year with your intercession we had a moment of joy, hope, forgiveness and healing.

Thank you Father for the gift of life, for the gift of Community that guides us each day to a new life in freedom.

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