Parents’ Day at Boarbank Hall

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.

Boarbank Feb 2019
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.

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Meanwhile at Dodding Green…

… a few pictures to give you an idea of work going on here at the moment.

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Experienced Guys meeting

“Servi per amore” – Saluzzo 19th-25th March 2019

From Bruno

From 19-25 March in Saluzzo we celebrated the annual meeting of the experienced guys in community.  The motto of the meeting was “ eccomi” (Here I am).  We started the day of the feast of St. Joseph who said “Here I am” to being the guardian of the Holy family in humility,  silence , fidelity and we ended with the feast of the Annunciation when Mary said her unconditional “Yes” to God’s plan.

On the first day the bishop welcomed us to the celebration of Holy Mass during which three brothers were consecrated as acolytes – another step on their journey to priesthood.  Then we started our period of total silence, even during meals and free time:  an important time for us to reflect on our walk and our future vocation.

Every day started with praying the rosary followed by holy Mass then we listened to the catechism of Mother Elvira which was then discussed by the priest;  while we ate lunch we listened to Pope Francis’s words and we prayed the second rosary.  In the afternoon we had an Holy hour,  another catechism,  a time for sharing in small groups,  rosary and dinner.

The themes for different days included :

  • Here I am – to life:  understand the importance of the life, to permit love to enter into us: to be able to give of ourselves and to be free from selfishness and falsity.  Father Stefano invited us to recognise that the community life will free us from suffering and fear like a second birth and also to think that we are precious in God’s eyes, to trust in ourselves and in our gifts;
  • Here I am – to the truth:  we thought about how to be truthful by examining our past, our sins, our compromises, our lies and to be without fear of judgement and with awareness of the infinite mercy of God.  Father Andrea invited us to think about where, how and when the evil entered our past lives;  he encouraged us to shake up our consciences;
  • Here I Am – to prayer: we were encouraged to consider why we prayed, how we prayed and the benefit of our prayer.  Father Massimo asked us to analyse the quality of our prayers so that we could avoid mechanical prayer. He underlined the importance of community prayer but also of personal prayer during Eucharistic adoration;
  • Here I am – to friendship and work:  understanding what is true friendship, that it involves sincerity and fairness and a willingness to sacrifice yourself; understanding that with work we regain our dignity;
  • Here I am – to give ourselves:  this is the big opportunity to express the goodness within us. Father Marco spoke about different vocations: about missions, marriage and the consecrated life.

On the Sunday we visited the house of formation in Pagno and we listened to many testimonies from the nuns.  In the evening we had a big surprise when we left to travel to Loreto where on Monday we welcomed Pope Francis who was visiting the “Holy House”.  In a very crowded space in front of the basilica we celebrated mass and afterwards the Holy Father spoke to us.  He said the elderly and sick are not to be rejected from today’s society.

Again this year the meeting was a great time of growth.  A time to re-charge our batteries,  to be aware of how good it is to give ourselves to otherswith joy and serenity.

Thank you to the Community for the gift.

Mary and Joseph we ask your intercession for those who are still suffering from addiction. Pray for us.

Mateusz - Loretto, Pope's visit March 2019

Mateusz in Loreto

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Mother Elvira’s Birthday

Also this year the Community gave us the possibility to gather in Saluzzo for Mother Elvira’s birthday: a great gift announced the day before by Fr Cassian with a funny word game of which the solution was “tomorrow we are going to Italy”. We arrived in Italy in the afternoon of Friday 18th just in time to admire a beautiful sunset behind the snow covered mountains near Saluzzo.

Saturday: we spent a normal day of work, prayer and sharing with the brothers who we met from other Fraternities.

Sunday: we gathered all together, also with the girls, in Envie for an intense day of prayer, catechism, songs, dancing and in the afternoon a series of videos about missions, the new Fraternities and future projects of our Community. The day ended with a beautiful and moving video about Mother Elvira today: a gift prepared by the sisters who assist her every day to say thank you for everything she has done for each one of us.

The following couple of days we spent just with the other male Fraternities. We talked about the pillars of our Community: prayer, work, friendship and sharing; we listened to many catechisms and testimonies from experienced guys of our Community.

We had also the possibility to do a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Snow, through whose intercession many people have been healed: the testimonies of these healings are shown in pictures around the walls of the church.

The meeting closed with the presentation of the gifts prepared by all the Fraternities and with a deep moment of Eucharistic Adoration in thanksgiving to God for the gift of life, a new life finally free from evil, lived in the truth and with a new hope.

We want to say thank you also to the Community for the opportunity to say hello to Mother Elvira through her window, singing happy birthday for her.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the gift of our Mother Elvira, instrument of the Holy Spirit to touch and to heal our hearts, to teach us how to pray, how to love and how to have joy in our lives.
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New Year’s Eve

After the normal duties in the morning we started very early to prepare the dough for the pizzas and each one of us had the possibility to have one hour of Eucharistic adoration to reflect on the past year. In the evening we welcomed our friends and Fr Chris, Fr Hugh and Fr Philip celebrated Holy Mass. In recognition of the feast of Our Lady Mother of God Fr Chris spoke about how we should take Mary as our example in bringing God to others.

We started the meal by pulling our crackers, and then had a nice starter with ham, cheese and chutneys.  This was followed by home made pizzas and some good cakes prepared by our friends.  This year we decided to spend the next time watching the film “The Shack”, a moving story about faith, forgiveness and mercy.

We waited for midnight in front of the Blessed Sacrament, putting into God’s hands our good intentions for the next year. We finished the night with a prayer before burning the papers with our intentions on on a bonfire, and then with some songs and dancing.

We want to say thank you to the Community for everything we received in the past year, thank you to all our friends, our benefactors and our priests for their support and for being close to us through the year, to our families and our loved ones for their prayers.

Thank you Lord Jesus, thank you for your presence in our lives, for your forgiveness and for your mercy. We want to put into your hands our walk and all our good intentions for the New Year.

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Open Day – December 2018

On Thursday we welcomed Fr Michel and Nicky and we immediately involved them in the last rehearsals of the Nativity Play.

On Friday, after the usual commitments, we received a great gift from the Community: an unexpected afternoon of meeting and prayer with our families at the Monastery of Our Lady of Hyning in Warton: many emotions but also a lot of smiles especially from the lads who met with their parents for the first time since entering / coming to Kendal.

Saturday: the last preparation and we started to welcome our guests, who arrived in large numbers. We prayed the Rosary then we lived a deep moment of Eucharistic Adoration. At the end all the priests close to our community celebrated Holy Mass together. Just time for some dancing and then we ate a lovely Italian and English lunch with pizzas, lasagne and shepherd’s pie.

In the afternoon we listened to the testimonies of Louis, Mateusz and his parents, and we involved also some friends of our fraternity who testified how the Cenacolo Community has affected their lives. This confirmed the word of Mother Elvira who asked the families to walk with their sons and daughters.  In the evening we started the Nativity Play and, notwithstanding some technical problems, we were happy to become like children acting out the story of the child Jesus.

Sunday morning we met just with our families for a day dedicated to conversation, reconciliation and sharing about our time spent in Kendal. After the usual moments of prayer we showed our loved ones some videos of Mother Elvira in order to transmit to them her strength and her charisma. A last cup of tea and we said goodbye to everybody in the hope of seeing them again next year.

We want to really say thank you to the Community for this long weekend of meeting, prayers and great emotions.

Thank you Lord Jesus for your mercy, for the strength you give us to forgive and to feel forgiven, and for the possibility to reconcile with our past and to look at the future with faith and hope.

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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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