On first impressions there appears to be little change. This is true when asked for factual updates and time line for ‘our house’ at Dodding Green. Paolo, Giancarlo and Ed left Kendal in September 2020 and continue to live with the lads at the house in Knock.
I know the family that moved into the house on 1.12.20 are very happy to be there. Certainly with 3 teenage children being home schooled and an active labrador the space has been a blessing to them. They will be ready to welcome ‘the Friends of the Community’ for the first Wednesday Mass once numbers of Covid infections reduce and along with Fr Hugh we make the decision it is right to do so. I still occasionally visit to collect mail for the Charity. During these visits it is clear there i change and reasons to be optimistic.
Many of you will see this when you are out for a walk or in your own garden. Despite the cold weather and Storms Christophe & Darcey new life is already coming. For those of you familiar with the house you will remember the snowdrops. Daffodils are already emerging along with the crocus’ and once we are into Spring the woodland will be its usual carpet of blue. It is reassuring to know that God’s hand and the beauty of Creation is still at work
What is also true is the Cenacolo Community as an International Community continues to inspire, provide hope and grow. As with our personnel lives and work lives much has gone ‘online’, just as it has in our own parish thanks to gifts of Christine and Ken and Fr Hugh. The ‘heart of the Community’ in Saluzzo, Italy has really embraced technology and the use of YouTube so we can stay connected. There have been many opportunities to join Italy and other houses around the world in prayer including the Advent Novena, Christmas Celebrations which included a Nativity Play from the house in Liberia and most recently the celebrations on 24.1.21. The community gathered virtually to give thanks for Mother Elvira on her 84th birthday, for her ‘yes’ and the work that Mary and the Holy Spirit have accomplished through the lives of those that encounter the Community. This includes those who have entered broken through life’s difficulties including addiction, the families who have experienced healing and conversion through God’s mercy and the work and fidelity to prayer of the many friends of the community, in the UK and around the world.
This gathering also gave thanks for the Sisters and Priests of the community, in particular Don Stefano. He has walked with Elvira from the early days of the community and was the first of one of I think 8 men who have been ordained and serve Cenacolo. Don Stefano celebrated the gift of his 20th Anniversary of Priesthood.
I would just like to share a couple of thoughts that stayed with me from Don Stefano’s homily. He shared “our life is a gift from God, it is not a mistake. Christ paid a great price for our life, His life. We need to fall in love with the beauty of life as Elvira did”.
Mother Elvira is unwell but Don Stefano and the Sisters that care for her are very clear “that this time of the cross is more fertile, when she is called from the cross is when Mother Elvira will start her work for us in Heaven”.
At this time it is right to give thanks for the life and ‘yes’ of Bishop Patrick. It is thanks to his ‘yes’ and welcome to the Diocese of Lancaster that the Cenacolo House was opened after many years of prayer by friends up and down the UK that were asking and praying for a house to save lives in the UK. Other people have much more knowledge than I have about this. Many in the parish supported the opening of the house and went to went to the Public Enquiry in 2004. Fr Chris Loughran is going to write about Bishop Patrick and Cenacolo for the Cenacolo Newsletter and Bryan Ingleby is sharing his reflections of Bishop Patrick and his support of Cenacolo for an article that will be in the next issue of The Voice.
Please can I add my request to those of Mother Elvira and the priests in Italy for the your continued providence of prayer for work of the Cenacolo Community throughout the world and for those living with drug or alcohol problems who may need the support of the Community. At the moment everything needs to be seen through the ‘lens of Covid’. This said, the Community is still ‘open’. Meetings with men and women are taking place by phone or ‘zoom’ to prepare for a welcome in Ireland or direct to Italy as and when travel and restrictions allow.
I would like to draw your attention to the book “The EMBRACE of GOD’S MERCY Mother Elvira and the Story of Community Cenacolo”. The book has recently been translated into English. If anyone would like a copy for themselves or to buy as a gift for someone else I will ask Pam and Fr Hugh if we can leave some in the parish shop. Details are also on this website (www.cenacolouk.org) or you could email me via the Cenacolo email firstname.lastname@example.org . A donation of £10 will help to cover the cost of publishing.
It is unclear exactly what the time line and plans are for the re opening of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs at Dodding Green. There are questions still posed by the corona virus and the further complications of Brexit that are unclear, but a motto of the Mother Elvira and the Community is “…..nothing is impossible for God”.
“What will be in the future I trust and we will discover”
Mary Mother of Cenacolo Pray for Us