FESTIVAL OF LIFE
I am so happy and grateful to have been a part of the Festival of Life this year in America. After having been in Europe for a few years, I was excited for the opportunity to participate in the twenty-year anniversary of Comunità Cenacolo America. The opportunity to be present for all three days offered me a unique perspective into the working of the Holy Spirit in our families. Friday was a simple, yet profound day of prayer and penance, and I saw many people go to confession. During a powerful moment of prayer on Saturday, families approached the Eucharist one-by-one in a solemn procession that allowed me to contemplate my own family’s unity and strength in the silence as we waited for a Eucharistic blessing given by Father Stefano. Sunday was, of course, a joyous celebration as I saw guys reunited with their families for the first time in months. It made me remember the first time I saw my own family after six months in Community. When I experience moments like these, they serve to strengthen my faith in God and in the Community. Also, there were many creative projects this year. It appears that the Community, while still putting the prayer first and remaining faithful to simplicity, has taken its own steps toward embracing modern techniques in its evangelization efforts. There were many interesting video presentations that recounted the history of both the European and American Community. On Sunday we “Skyped” Mother Elvira, and, for the first time, we were able to instantaneously overcome the distance that separates us. We were also able to greet our brothers who are overseas, so this was truly a beautiful moment. The mask dance presentation concretely told the classic story of our encounter with evil and its seductive ways up to the point in which we cried out to Jesus for help and He saved us. There were various photo presentations scattered throughout the property that also gave light to the missionary reality of our community.b The biblical drama, “Nothing is Impossible for God,” was an amazing synthesis of hard-work and prayer. Like never before guys from all three houses came together in order to present something beautiful for the greater glory of God. In addition to its unique story and characters, the production utilized innovative stage and lighting technology. For me “Nothing is Impossible for God” proves that Community not only shows us the path to healing, but, if we truly give ourselves to the prayer, it draws out from deep within us our talents that we were either afraid to use or didn’t even know existed. I am truly grateful to have been able to contribute to the 20th anniversary of Comunità Cenacolo America. I thank Albino and Joyce for their undying persistence and loyalty to our healing; I thank Mother Elvira for her courage and love in beginning this great work of God; and I thank Jesus because when I was in my darkest hour, He listened to my cry for help and saved me by showing me the way into Community. Thank you.
With the 20th year anniversary of Comunità Cenacolo America, I saw a lot of things that really made it special. Everything began on Friday, with a day geared towards the parents and family members, being that I was asked to help out with various services, I had the gift of being able to participate on this day. The morning began with The Holy Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration led by Father Stefano, focused on penitence and asking for forgiveness of our sins and faults, later on in the afternoon there was a moment where the Holy Sacrament was exposed, and all the priests who where there gave confession. The adoration of the morning and the moment of reconciliation in the afternoon was for me a great way to start off the festival, with a clean heart, and a clean soul. In the days that followed there where many powerful moments of prayer uniting the families together through the healing of the Eucharist, as we gave thanks to everything Jesus has done for us. With the presence of Father Ivan, we also had the possibility to hear him speak, giving catechisms where both the parents and guys and girls of the community could relate to and learn from. With the afternoon chock full of dances by the “Cenacolini” little cenacolo’s (the children of those who have already exited the community). And moments of dance by the girls of Santa Maria Goretti. There where many moments of joy and testimonies of hope. On Saturday evening the testimonies of hope where taken one step further in the biblical drama “Nothing is Impossible for God”, guided by the holy spirit, and technological advances of today, the guys where able to perform and give testimony to the resurrection of Jesus who lives within us.On Sunday, for the first time we had the chance to Skype Mother Elvira and all the other Americans over in Italy, I really saw how this moment brought all the families together right from the start of the day, and how it brought tears of joy to many who could see there children overseas. In the afternoon some of the guys of “Our Lady of Hope” with “Our Lady of Joyful Hope” performed the “mask dance”, telling the story of many of our lives through a dance that in the community has been performed since the beginning. The day was concluded with holy mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Baker, and Bishop Felipe Estevez where thanks where given to the 20 years of life Comunità Cenacolo America celebrates today.
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