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Jan 26, 2009

Just got back from a great celebration from Mother Elvira’s birthday, and believe me, I do not think there are very many people that are receiving a birthday celebration like she does. We had three days of festivity, and it is not over yet. We began last Saturday with a day for the guys and girls and friends of the Community, with Mass, lunch and different skits that were a lot of fun. One that the guys did was an imitation of the opening of a house in China, and we had our Sherman as a main protagonist.
I had a chance to see most of the guys that are in Italy and Ireland. The others I was not able to see because it is difficult to move everybody at this time of the year because of a lot of snow everywhere around Europe. Fortunately, I have gotten news that pretty much everyone is doing fine so far, and I was happy to hear it! With the guys who were there, we had lunch together and we joked around a lot.

I did hear their sharing and pretty much most of them had a really hard time at the start because of the language, but now that they are feeling more comfortable with it, they are feeling much better. Sherman and Ryan in Saluzzo pretty much have spent the whole time so far shoveling snow; it has been exceptional year for it. Joe C. is in Loreto, a beautiful house we opened just few years ago, and is doing house cleaning in the morning and various jobs in the afternoon. He has only a few guys that speak English in his house so he is picking up Italian quickly. Christopher from Ireland was the guardian angel of an Irish guy, and now he has been moved to Giustenice where Andrew and Tom are. Blake from Borgaro is doing the diary in Italian, but he seems more comfortable with the language than he was in the summer and he has a much better attitude about being there. Jonathan V. and Brendon are in the same house of Casaleggio, also a house that has not been opened too long, and both of them are pushing the wheelbarrow all day long. The house is a construction site, and there is a lot of work. Brendon is praying hard to get into the choir that in Italy is pretty much a big deal. They play music really well. Johnny V. is in Saluzzo, and he is working in sound and light, learning a lot and always under the spotlight. He is doing really well and he speaks Italian very well now. Dan L. is also in Palazzo, and he is singing with the choir. He seems to have a lot of fun doing it, and he seemed just to be very much in peace and happy to be there. Brian is still in Pagno and, after a long period of struggle is doing better. I saw him smile more here than in the previous time in FL. Jorge will go back to Ireland, a small house, but he seems also in a very good spirit. Please see photos on the website!
Monday and Wed were the days of presenting presents, one day the guys and one day the girls. And you can see just some beautiful art work that was done for our Mother Elvira. Our girls did a nice photograph book with the story of the opening of the St. Maria Goretti and the time spent with Mother Elvira here in Florida. It was nice to see the joy and curiosity of the other girls when they saw it. I had the joy to see a picturesque landscape all around me, all white, everything covered in snow. It was something that made my visit there so special.
Now I am back in Florida with the reality of our houses here that seem to be doing pretty well. All the guys and girls are still here. No one left, different than other times in the last couple years. That is always the most important thing for us, the perseverance even through the struggles of Community life. We must learn to have the strength not to give up! Our projects continue slowly, but they are being done well!
Just tonight I got an email from Mexico that said that Fabrizio went home to the mission today. They guys in our two houses maintained 24/7 Adoration for him. Thank you for all the prayers.
We are receiving mail in way too many places. We do not want any mail sent to our houses directly. Please use the address 24 Cathedral Place, # 307, St.Augustine, FL 32084 for any correspondence. Use 1050 Talleyrand Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32206 for any package.
Please continue to help and support our Community because we need your help to keep helping more people to change their lives and to embrace the life of Christ. We know that this country is having a hard time, but nothing is impossible with God.
Grazie Ciao

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