Trip to Italy

On Wednesday 18th January we received the unexpected news of our departure the next day to Italy for a week to spend in celebration for the 81st birthday of the founder of our community Mother Elvira and for the ordination of one of our friends and brother in Christ, Marco, and for his deaconate. We arrived in Italy to see mountains white with snow surrounding us and beautiful sunshine to welcome us. After settling in we started a weekend of feasts, of joy and of encounter.

On the Saturday we attended Marco’s ordination with the friends of our Community, some of our families, and many of our own communities gathered, arriving from all different parts of the world in the Cathedral of Saluzzo.  It was a fantastic day that reminded each of us of the true value of life and the importance to give our “yes” each day to the Lord, to the brothers and to the family.

On the Sunday we gathered again for the celebration of Mother Elvira’s birthday in which the joy and the enthusiasm for life through the prayer of the Rosary, the Holy Mass and the unity of friendship enhanced the charism and excitement in the hearts of many.

The Monday was a very different day when we had a football tournament with different teams from the various fraternities of the houses in Europe, won in the end by the Polish fraternity. On Tuesday just the guys, without the girls and friends of community, gathered in the house in Envie for another day of feast, lived in prayer, dancing, different videos from our missions, and charades or shows from some of the guys as a gift for Mother Elvira and the presents being “given” by the various houses of Cenacolo along with explanations and a lot, a lot of life.


There followed a tranquil day to return to normality and at the end of the week we went back to our own fraternity in Kendal filled with a good spirit, more peaceful and with more will in our hearts to move forward together in our community journey and in our lives. One of the most beautiful of these days lived in Italy was the opportunity to gather twice under the balcony of the convent where Mother Elvira lives, today very weak but still smiling and active, to sing a song from our hearts to thank her for the great gift of her life given to raise each one of us from the darkness to the light.  We also would like to thank the community of England and all the friends in Kendal who support us and who during these days made it possible for us to have this trip and to return to the heart of the community in Saluzzo.

From Samuele:
It was fantastic to relive the value of true friendship and to see again my brothers and friends in Italy. The friendships built with God never break up, never crumble with time, nor with distance. We lived a week of joy, everybody happy to celebrate the birthday of the woman who we love, of the woman who has given her life for us.

From Louis:
This trip was a beautiful opportunity to see the heart of community and especially to meet our Mother Elvira and through her birthday to see the true friendship and the unity between all of us brothers. What touched me most was an environment of joy, peace and full of light, fruit of our prayer guided each day from Our Lord.

Mother Elvira ti vogliamo bene assai.

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New Year’s Eve

Straight after a football match we started to get ready for the last dinner of the year 2017… We lit the wood fired oven and we started to prepare pizzas.

That, throughout the previous years, has become the favourite dish to give a warm welcome to the new year; with a table decorated for a feast where we welcome our guests: the friends closest and dearest to our fraternity. At the end of the meal we switched off the lights and brought in a lighted cake for Deacon John’s birthday.  Shortly after this we started the game of bingo with Samuele and Bruno enlivening the evening with their calling and prize giving.

We then moved to the chapel for a profound moment of Eucharistic Adoration during which we wrote down the new intentions for the coming year and put in the hands of God the failures and things which weighed us down in the past year.  It was very touching, especially the blessing with the invocation of the Holy Spirit from Fr Chris for each of us. After that we celebrated the holy mass and we welcomed in the new year right at the moment of the communion, receiving the body of Christ and asking for His intercession and His protection.  The night ended with a splendid bonfire on which we burned the resolutions we wrote earlier, followed by singing and dancing under a lovely moon, but also some rain.

We said goodbye and we thanked everybody for a good evening.  Thank you Lord Jesus for the gift of life, for all the good moments lived throughout the year, for all the difficulties met and overcome with faith.  Thank you for your presence and with the intercession of Mary your holy mother we put into your hands our fraternity, all our community and this new year with all its growth, healing, and hopes.

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“Pilgrimage” up the mountains – 8th December 2017

Wake up call with Community songs which gave us a good start for this important Solemnity of all the Catholic world: the Immaculate Conception. Just after breakfast we received the news of the gift to go for a walk to Chapel Style on the mountain side around the Lake District of Windermere. It was very cold but after a quick snack we left and  soon on our way we found the snow which we haven’t seen for a long time.  When we reached the first lake on top of the mountain at half way on our journey we began an unusual but interesting revision of life: every couple of weeks we gather together and each takes a turn to share his experience since last time. The others then suggest ways we could do better in the coming weeks and at the end of it the rest of the group formulates a new commitment for the person who did the sharing to go forward into the next period with. This revision of life helps us to see the truth about ourselves through the eyes of the others, gives us the opportunity to become better people and refresh the air in the Community.

We restarted our journey up the mountain but the footpath was completely full of snow and the threatening sky forced us to return back. We blessed our lunch under a massive rock and after a lovely warm coffee we went down hill back on our way, praying the luminous mysteries of the Rosary according to Our Lady’s intentions on which we entrusted all our prayers of the day.

When we got back to the starting point of our walk we carried on our revision of life, begun earlier on, and on the way back in the van we prayed the last Rosary in thanksgiving for all that we lived throughout our day. Although it was cold and we had some struggles it was good to live differently the revision of life that enables us to grow together in truth, in friendship and in prayer.

Thank you Mary for your example, your protection and your maternal love for each of us.

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Nativity Open Day 2017

There two days each year when a general invitation is issued to Friends and supporters of the Cenacolo Community at Kendal to join with the Community in a day of joy and celebration. This year the Nativity Open Day was on Saturday 2nd December and the day dawned bright and crisp as gradually those invited began to arrive. First were a group of parents of some of the men in the Community at Dodding Green. They had travelled from: Italy, Ireland, Poland and Scotland. This is always a joyful moment when sons and parents are united after being apart for some time.


Soon there were over a hundred people present on site and, after coffee, they came together in the upper barn (now transformed into a meeting room / chapel) to be welcomed and to begin the day with prayer.

These days always unfold quickly and soon it was time for Holy Mass, swiftly followed by lunch prepared and served by the men of the House – lasagne & shepherd’s pie. Lunchtime always provides time to talk with parents, Friends of the Community and to generally catch up. The first part of the afternoon was given over to testimonies of the guys in the Community telling their story from the darkness of addiction to the light of freedom and liberty (a work in progress).

As the light faded final preparations were made for the annual Nativity production which the men have prepared for by building an outside set in the grounds, lighting it, preparing the sound track to accompany the production and finally, with the involvement of their families and the Friends of the Community, the presentation of the production itself. A truly inspiring event enjoyed by all who watched it.

And then time for ‘goodbyes’ as Friends were bid a fond farewell until the next Open Day; families would reconvene on Sunday for the much quieter Family Day.P1040981

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An Invitation to the NATIVITY OPEN DAY: Sat 2nd Dec 10am to 5pm


This is an opportunity for family, Friends of the Community and supporters to meet with the members of the Community, to hear their testimonies, to pray with them and celebrate Holy Mass.

For weeks now, the members of the Community have been practising ready to stage the Nativity Drama. They have built the set in the grounds of the House, their costumes are ready, the outside lighting had been erected, and the various parts have been allocated. They will stage this drama at the end of the Open day.

The staging of the drama is just one part of the healing that goes on in the Community. The drama often takes the men out of their comfort zone and teaches them that they are often capable of things they thought beyond themselves. More than that, it actually makes more tangible the Christmas story, for those who take part.



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Final Mass and Blessing of Patrick – ‘Chun Fu’ Feast of All Saints 1st November 2017

The first Wednesday of the month the lads welcome friends and benefactors of the community to join them for mass. The first Wednesday in November was extra special, as not only was this the feast of All Saints, but the lads in the house and the friends joined in the prayer and invocation of the Holy Spirit for Patrick as he received ‘the Blessing’ before leaving  the Cenacolo Community to return home to Singapore, the following day.

Chun Fu entered the Cenacolo Community in October 2011. Each person’s walk in community is unique. During his walk Chun Fu was received into the Church, choosing the name Patrick for his Christian name, when he was baptised.

During his walk Patrick lived in different ‘fraternities’ (houses) including in Italy and France before moving  to the ‘fraternity’ at Lady Queen of Martyrs in Kendal around 2 years ago.

As well as joining Patrick and the lads for the celebration of Holy Mass and praying with him when he received the Blessing from Fr Chris on behalf of Mother Elvira, the friends experienced a very significant moment. The lads that have lived, worked, prayed, played and journeyed together shared their memories and thanks with Patrick. Equally as important as the thanksgiving was the advice or ‘help’ they believe Patrick will need to continue his walk.

Patrick ‘we wish you well’ as you begin your next chapter at home in Singapore or supporting Jimmy and Irene as they seek to establish the first fraternity in the Philippines.

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Cenacolo Retreat Day – Maryvale 2017

‘Charity is a living person, with a face, a voice and a heart’
 (Sparks of Light: From the heart of Mother Elvira p.61)

On Saturday, the 4th November 2017, 35 family members and supporters from around the UK gathered at Maryvale Institute to spend a day in prayer, reflection and dialogue, with the aim of encouraging and helping each other to continue to walk in solidarity with the Cenacolo Community.

The day began with a reading from the heart of Mother Elvira – Sparks of Light p.61 in which Mother Elvira says: ‘Charity is a living person, with a face, a voice and a heart’.

Shared Dialogue and Prayer

In our shared dialogue, space was given to each person to speak from the heart and to share a little of the way in which the Cenacolo Community had influenced their lives. We encouraged each other to stay close together and support the Community for the good of the many men and woman, boys and girls who are in need of help. To be constant in our prayer and to be attentive to the joy that the Community brings through the healing of addiction for those who are struggling to find a place once more in society

Spiritual Reflection

Father John Udris (St Mary’s College, Oscott) helped us deepen our experience of facing truth and weakness through the lived example of St Therese of Lisieux. His knowledge and well presented talk on St Therese was inspirational giving us all many fine examples of her theological writings.

Mass and Confessions

We are also very grateful to Father Andrew McCann (Maryvale) for sharing the day with us, and for saying Mass and hearing Confessions.

To conclude the day we sang some typical ‘Cenacolo Songs’ and reflected on the joy of the event. As in previous years, the facilities and welcome made Maryvale a wonderful venue and a joy to be a part of, even for just a day!

We are most grateful to everyone that joined in with the retreat day this year.

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