The time is flying and passing by so fast with all the preparations for the Parents and Families Retreat and the Festival of Life. Community life is so full that is always very difficult to know where to start without forgetting something important. First we begin with our weather report that always has an important role in the Florida summer. We are grateful to the Lord that we have not had any hurricanes or tropical storms. Actually it’s been pretty quiet for the last couple of weeks. It was also cooling off a little bit, but over the last weekend we just had a storm that dumped over 6 inches of rain. All the Florida bugs are happy and seem to be getting bigger in this weather, especially in the house of Mary Immaculate. We thank everyone who sent bug spray, because we use it a lot!
It is a moment when we are busy in all our sites. At OLOH, we ended up putting new siding on the main house. Scott and Paul have almost finished painting the entire house, and it looks very good. We did a lot of work over the summer that was really needed. The last thing we will have to do is replace the roof, but we will do it in the dry season over the winter! Also we are working on the stage and preparation for the Festival of Life and our show, “Rejoice in Hope.” The guys feel a lot of excitement and worry about what will be ahead, but there is a good spirit in the house and a lot of collaboration between all the guys. That is always the most important part.
Blake, David C, Ryan, Brett and Anthony are building the stage. So far they have done a good job. It is all covered, so it’s been protected from the weather! We have Rich R. and Richard A. who are working in the welding shop. They are building one of the trusses of the tent and doing really a good job. It is nice to see some of the guys that learned a trade in Europe bring back their experience and help others. This has always been the spirit of the Community, but it has not always been applied!
In the garden we have Jonathan V., Thomas R., Lucas, Steven, and Massimo. They are trying with the vegetables, but it is not easy because of the weather. So far, we do not have any veggies, but we are trying our best to grow something. For sure the summer is not the best time of the year! Sherman is working with me in our graphics and computer room. We have different projects like video editing, music cd’s, doing graphics for flyers and the newsletter etc. We are posting on our website a clip of our Lourdes pilgrimage over the summer that Sherman did. It is really well done! Next we are working on the history of the Community here in Florida with a slideshow of many old photos of the farm!
At Mary Immaculate we also have a lot of activities, especially building the dormitory where Paul, Matt, and Jon Paul are working hard. We are definitely making progress. Also, finally, the fire sprinklers had been installed. It was a big job to dig the 3 foot ditch to run all the water line. Joe C. and Michael did a lot of digging, while we were pumping out water from the ditch. Joseph from NM is working with Collin and seems in good spirits. Michele and Sean are cutting wood, making a very neat stack that is like a wall and looks very good.
We see Mary Immaculate growing and acquiring its own identity. We are also blessed finally to have a priest commit to go there every week to celebrate Mass. That helped a lot! Joel is still in the kitchen and is doing a great job. Paul P. is preparing breakfast for everyone early in morning with struggles, but he is happy to do it. Every morning he tells me what he has prepared for breakfast “for my brothers,” and I tell him how proud we are of what he is doing! We also received a great number of old planks of lumber that can be used around the property for boardwalks or different projects. So, finally, we are moving along. Bob W. is doing a good job to keep the project flowing, and he has also a couple of retired men from Palm Coast that are helping because they have a long history in building. It is nice to see some real progress!
At St. Maria Goretti, we did some work tiling the big workshop, and next we will finish the fence around the property, installing the gate opener and putting up a little greenhouse. We’ll do some landscaping. A lot of cleaning still has to be done. We will do the minimum with landscaping and let the girls that come take some ownership of the house and make it as they wish. I am sure they will make it very special. Just recently I was thinking that I had not received very many requests from girls to come into Community, and all of the sudden just this week I received five requests for info and orientation. The Lord knows the best time for everything, and we have to respect it!
We just got back from a quick trip to Birmingham Alabama, where we went to make an offer on a house that had 40 acres of land, thinking that was the right spot. In the end, the Lord showed us many issues, and we had to walk away. We will continue to search for something else. One thing we know is that the next project of the Community will be there, and we hope to find the right place.
I received news from Lourdes that some of our Americans guys and girls were sitting very close to the Pope as he celebrated Mass at the Shrine last week. What an experience!
We just celebrated the 20 year anniversary of the house of Borgaro in Italy. Our fraternity is located inside the convent where Sister Elvira entered at the age of 19! For the anniversary, she was there with guys coming from different houses close by. They had a great celebration that included many friends of the Community!
I had a chance to speak with the mission in Peru and spoke with both Tim and Dan. They seemed in very good spirits. They are in the third house, Rayo de Luz that we opened. They share with me their struggles but also their joy to be able to live this great experience to serve those in need. Tim is working a lot in the garden, and Dan mostly is finishing some house restoration. He also built an area where they can keep some animals!
Finally, we invite you all to come to our Parents and Families Retreat and Festival of Life. Do not lose this opportunity to see Mother Elvira who has not come to the States for the last 5 years. Please come whether you have your son here or not. It does not matter because everyone can benefit from hearing her!
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