… a few pictures to give you an idea of work going on here at the moment.
“Servi per amore” – Saluzzo 19th-25th March 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.