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Nov 19, 2008

With Mother Elvira
My time is full of joy with the presence of Mother Elvira. We had a wonderful visit to the mission in Mexico, “Cenaculo de Guadalupe,” we spent a week full of the beauty of Community life. It is hard to start to write something about it because every day is so full with Mother Elvira. Just hearing her speak with our guys, girls, or the children makes you reflect for the rest of the day. Also for me being able to be close to her day in and day out for the last month has been so refreshing, so fulfilling, so spiritual that I would have not change this time for anything in the world. I can see how much I still have to learn and how God has given Mother Elvira the charisma He chose for Cenacolo community.
We spent some time searching for a new site to open a house for young men. We have so many requests for guys to enter the community, many families asking for help for their son or daughters, and no place to send them. So far we have not found the right place yet! The mission here is a beautiful place with an elevation of 6500 feet, lots of woods around a big piece of property with 4 houses, over 40 children from age 2 to 16 years, three sisters, a couple, three girls, and a couple of guys. The sites are well separated. It is amazing to see the days starting in the chapel at 5:30 a.m. with the morning prayers for the missionaries, and then the children come in at 6 to say the Rosary before going to school. Everybody is kneeling down. They behave and pay more attention in the chapel then our men in Florida. That really shows what is happening in our missions.
Over the weekend we had a day for the families in Mexico and a day for friends of the Community. A lot of people came to see Mother Elvira. It is great to see how much respect people have for her even in land far from Italy like Mexico!
Now my trip out of the States is continuing in Peru, where we arrived late last night after a long flight. To our surprise we had 10 of our young men and women from the community dressed in popular dresses with sombreros, singing and dancing at the airport for our arrival. It was hard to contain my tears. As you can imagine, everybody in the airport was looking at us. It was 1 a.m.!
Here in Peru we have a lot to do also because we have three mission houses in the three different towns an hour away from each other. Today it was nice to see Tim, Dan, and Dan (Dad) who is here visiting for an experience with his son for 2 weeks. How nice, too, to see our Sister Jennifer from CA here who has been her for the last 3 years. We have a nice American presence here in Peru, and we are very proud that our guys can live a simple but deep experience.
A lot is happening here in different projects that are going on. We had a lot to do just because we have so many requests to enter! Our houses are full already. We have all together over 60 children from age 0 to 16, plus a bunch of missionary guys and girls, four sisters. Most of the missionaries could be out of the community, but instead they decide to go to the mission to serve! Here we have also our three Americans, Dan, Tim, and Sister Jennifer. They look very good, and they doing great! It is a joy for me to see them in action. I spent most of my first day here in Peru in the new house of “Rayo de Luz” with them.
In Florida, even though I am not there, life is going on, and I will say that it is going on pretty well. The visit of Mother Elvira left a sense of spiritual peace and serenity that probably many of our guys have never felt before. Our normal Community life is going on well.
We sent 10 guys to Italy, five from OLOH (Scott, Jonathan, Brett, Ryan, Sherman) and five from MI (Joel, Colin, Matt, Frank, Joe C.). They were really happy to go, but just before the festival six of them were saying that they were ready to leave Community because they were feeling good and felt ready to start a new life. We all knew that they were far, far from ready. It was beautiful to see how the families were strong and determined for them to continue their journey. The visit with the families impacted them in the opposite direction. Now that they made the choice to go to Europe for the next step of community life, they are happy they did it and are excited to embrace the many challenges ahead! Now we are ready to bring in more guys because we have space in our houses!
Our St. Maria Goretti house is going well. We have one girl already on orientation and others ready to come. The girls are slowly getting settled. Providence bringing what we need in the times of God. We needed a dependable vehicle for them. One of our parents found a great minivan that’s almost new for a great price. He is willing to pay for half the price, so we are hoping other people will come forward to help raise the other half. It could be a great Christmas present for the girls!
Some people are already asking me about Christmas for those guys in Europe. Please do not send any packages because they charge duty at Customs in Europe. Usually the fee is way more that the contents of the package. I want to tell you clearly that the community in Europe will not pay for it, and you will end up having the package sent back to you, so just send a Christmas card and do not worry about the present. He will be fine with it all. I can take some stuff later in January when we go to Mother Elvira’s birthday. For those who have their son in Florida, something that the guys always need is sneakers and working shoes, but do not think only about your son; think also about the others.
We will be at the Medjugorje conference in Clearwater, Florida, on Sat 22. The girls will do a dance, give testimonies, and do music for the Holy Hour.
Grazie in advance. I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember, we have a lot to be thankful for; what is happening in Community and in our lives, through a simple “yes” that Mother Elvira said many years ago, is a gift of life and joy that many people never experience in their lives!

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