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Festival of Life in Florida

Finally I have a moment where I can recollect my thoughts and write a little about what happened over the weekend. I do not even know where to begin, because the emotions are so high. The joy is so great, and what I saw over the weekend was so beautiful. The presence of Mother Elvira, Father Stefano, and our sisters really made the weekend memorable.
 Let’s begin with our retreat, where Father Stefano gave some beautiful talks about Community life. It really went deep inside the hearts of those present.
 Over the weekend we fought a lot with the weather, between a lot of wind, a sky that sometimes looked really dark, and occasional rain, but it was not enough to stop us. Friday night the girls danced to the Mysteries of Light. They chose five beautiful songs that spoke of each of the mysteries. In between the five dances were a couple testimonies. The biggest testimony was their big smiles and their joy.
 Saturday night the guys did a show that they called “Miracles,” alternating between a scene in the time of Jesus and a pretty realistic presentation of the struggle to get a guy into Community. It started with conflict between a son who is an addict and his father. It showed the hurt and the prayers of the father who is trying to help his son to enter in Comunita Cenacolo. I think everyone was moved because all our families could relate to the script in some way. The wind added to the choreography, because we had four pretty big cubes that made up the set and the wind kept moving them!
 Sunday the weather got worse with more wind and some rain, so early in the morning Father Stefano and I got to Mary Immaculate and woke up the guys. We had everyone come to take down part of the stage, and then we set it up again under the protection of the tent. We made some good adjustments. In less than three hours, everything was set. It was a great team effort, and the guys really worked fast. Thanks be to God, we did it, because the weather at one point got really bad. In the morning we had a beautiful Adoration led by Father Stefano. All the guys and girls were on the stage all around Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It was really a time of deep prayer. It was a powerful moment.
 In the afternoon, the girls of Maria Goretti did a couple of dances, followed by dances of the Sisters. It was a great moment of joy. We had a few testimonies, too. Then the Cenacolini, children of former members, did a couple little songs. They were dressed like saints and were so cute. Some of the guys and wives gave testimonies, too. Some of the guys have been out of Community for many years. I pray that it will give hope to those who are in Community now. The day ended with Mass with the local Bishop Felipe Estevez, who has become a good friend of Cenacolo in his short time here. I think everyone was happy and joyful. We could not ask for anything better. I want to thank all those that made this possible: the parents that worked at the booths, helped with the auction, sold cook books, cards and everything that was prepared for the Festival. I want to thank the parents that help cooking, serving food, making sure that everything was ok and in place and helped keep everything in order. I want to end with a line from Mother Elvira that has repeated over and over to us: “Grazie perche` tu esisti.” (Thank you that you exist!)


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