Festival of Life 2007 - Italy
Medjugorje - The Community's early days. Albino's Experience
We just got back from the Festival in Italy, and what a "festa"! My decision to go was really at the last minute. I am glad we went because it was really important to be there to see all the numerous American guys and girls and the many old friends.
The Festival went great. Every year it's better and more organized, and it seems that more people go there every year. At least 3000 people were there. With the bus going back and forth on the narrow roads, all the different jobs that needed volunteers, starting from parking and working in the booths, making sandwiches, serving coffee, ice cream, and drinks, all the Italian parents did a lot of work and put in a lot of time!
The American families seemed to really enjoy the Festival, the time of prayer, singing, and dancing. There was just a lot of joy and emotion in the air. The guys in Europe, for the most part, sounded pretty good and happy. I did have a chance to speak with most of them, and they shared what was going on. For sure we had some struggling, but it seems that everybody is trying to keep on going.
We had a chance to see two beautiful productions. The first one, "The Prodigal Son," was very well done by the guys from the house in Saluzzo. The second one, "do Not Be Afraid" was done by the guys in Medjugorje. It was a major production of the life of Jesus and beautifully done with a cast of at least 60 people. All the Americans from the house in Medjugorje part of it. It is impossible to describe! I hope to have the DVD available soon!
We also had a beautiful time of healing prayer as the Blessed Sacrament was moving through the crowd with very soft music played from our choir. It was very special. The catechisms were very good. Father Stefano spoke very strong on Friday about the wounds of the guys and girls in Community. There were many tears for many people.
On Monday we had a nice day in Certosa up in the mountain. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day with over 200 hundred English speaking people, including the sons and daughters, coming from England, Ireland, and the USA. Every year we have more people, and we fill the retreat centers everywhere. During lunch Don Stefano joined Don Andrea and all of us. After lunch we went into the church, and there were some very honest testimonies by the guys and girls in Community. This year the sharing was much deeper, talking about the reality of what they were living inside. Don Stefano ended the day with a beautiful talk about sacrifice and what it means for the parents to really love the guys and girls. He spoke with strength and determination, and everyone really listened.
In Europe some changes took place. Aaron W. went back to Ireland; John V is at Pagno "pastorelli;" Jeremy went to the new house in Novara; Anthony R. is in Courgne; Tom L. is in Saluzzo; Daniel, David's brother, is in Mediugorje; Jeremy's sister entered for an experience in Cherasco. Everybody else pretty much stayed were they were. Then we have some guys that went in verifica: Matt S (GA), Jeff F. (IN), Joshua K. (TN), Nicholas S. (CA), Blake F (TX), Paul F. (FL). Please keeps them in your prayers.
Here in Florida things are going forward with all our projects. The most important thing is that everyone is still here. Jonathan L. had a moment of difficulty and walked away, but he came back the same day.
I am back and feel recharged spiritually. It is always so good to go back where everything started with the "yes" of a very courageous nun, Mother Elvira. She was not afraid to say "yes" to God and to trust a bunch of people that no one trusted. And look now what God has done. Like she says, it is way bigger that anything even she could imagine. At last count, the official word from Saluzzo is that we have 56 houses.
Next year it will be an even larger Festival because it is the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Community.
Please keep in your prayers a young man, Jeff K., that will be ordained a priest for the diocese of SC this coming weekend. He chose to spend two months in Community for an experience a couple years ago, just feeling it would make him a better priest --and I am sure it will. He really loves the Community.
Also keep in your prayer Bob Waller' family his father just passed away!
Please if you have any pictures from the Festival in Italy and if you want to share impressions, please send them to us.
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