What a wonderful trip we had to Alabama for our interview on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock.” I took 16 guys and most of them did not know exactly where we were going or what we were going to do, so pretty much it was a big surprise, one the special surprises that happens in Community without any warning. The trip up there went well. It was Ash Wednesday, so we did not worry about stopping to eat because it was a fast day, and our guys prepared focaccia for our journey. The only stop was for bathroom and gas, so in 8 hours we got there without any problems.
We were hosted from a nice local family, friends of Bishop Baker, who opened their home and made us feel very welcome. It was a beautiful big house on the lake, and they able to handle all of us in their big house. After a few rosaries prayed together, we had a light dinner, and we went to the local church for Mass. It was a pretty full day. Then we were ready to camp out, and we closed down for the night, hungry and tired after the long trip. Most of them they did not what to expect for the next day.
The following day we woke up early to have a very delightful breakfast. Then we got ready quickly and went to Mass because we had a very packed day. We headed to Hanceville to visit the monastery of Mother Angelica’s order. We drove through the country and hills of Alabama, a very layed back area without heavy traffic. The scenery was beautiful and very relaxing, especially coming from Florida where everywhere you look there is a subdivision or a strip mall. We got there about 11:00, and we had the tour of the site that for sure is one of the prettiest monasteries in the U.S. It reminded me of Italy. Everywhere we found people that welcomed us and tried to make our stay special. We had a chance to see all the pretty sites and then had a brown bag lunch prepared for us.
After our lunch we had time to go see a track of land. Then we went to see another property with a very large house and barn on the property; we are praying and waiting for God to show us His will about whether this can become a site for Comunita Cenacolo. We will keep praying about it and see how Divine Providence will answer. The guys were very excited and amazed about what they had seen. There was a very good feeling among them, joking and laughing, just having good time.
Our time there had to be cut short because we had to go back to change clothes and head to the t.v. station. We had to meet with Father Mark, the priest that was going to interview us. When we got there, he asked us who was going to speak. The guys did not know who was going to be on the show. I told them that Rich, Nicholas, Anthony, Paul, Steven, and Tom would speak, and I watched their faces change color. But I knew that the Holy Spirit was with us, so there was no need to worry. The Holy Spirit gives us the words at the right time. We just have to try not to focus on ourselves but on sharing the message of hope that changed our lives. Then the Holy Spirit can say what He wants to say through us. We rehearsed some singing to be ready for the song at the end of the show. There was a lot of excitement mixed with worries, but I kept repeating that it would be fine as long that we kept on smiling. We had a great dinner hosted by the Friars. There were there was a lot of people, friends of Bishop Baker and our supporters, so I felt that there was a lot of excitement about the show.
We finished dinner and headed to the studio to get ready. I saw that our guys were a little nervous, so I asked Bishop Baker to say a special prayer with us that the Holy Spirit would enlighten our minds to express what the Holy Spirit wanted us to say. Then, with a studio that was packed with people, we started. The show was just really well done, including the previous interview with Mother Elvira. Her message to the youth was loud and clear to forgive their parents. She spoke in a strong and loving way, and she explained about life at Comunita Cenacolo. The guys pretty much all did very well. Believe me, it is not easy to speak on live TV. They just gave different perspectives of their own life and how they have changed in Community, so I was very proud of them. I am sure that many of you saw it. If you need a copy of the show, you can order it from EWTN. The evening ended up with a big party at the Bishop’s residence with a lot of Cenacolo supporters. We watched the DVD of the show, and we all did a lot of laughing, because the guys were sharing what they were feeling while they were speaking–heart beating strong, hot, cold, sweating! Thank you for all prayers. We felt them. We also had all our Community around the world praying for us, including our little ones in the missions.
Back here in Florida, our guys left behind joined forces. OLOH and MI all stayed at the farm together. There were four older guys with a lot of young guys, but they did very well without creating any problems, so we are proud of them too. Patrick from Florida just entered few days ago.
Last Tuesday at St. Maria Goretti we celebrated the 10 year anniversary in Community of a young woman named Sandrina, who is visiting from the mission in Mexico. This is the second mission house for her. Her visit has been good for all the girls at the house. We are very grateful for her dedication to the Community.
Please sign up for the Parents and Families Lent Retreat on April 3-5. The information is on our website. Let your regional contact know who is coming from your family. Your regional contact can let us know. Those want to stay in the bunk house email Bob W. firstname.lastname@example.org. We remind you how important it is for you to come, even if your son or daughter is not here. The retreats are important for you to understand the life your son is living and to help you make the parallel journey with him. He needs this from you.
Jonathan and Jennie just had a little baby girl, Avery Marie, so there’s a new Cenacolina in the family!