Posted On 2018-04-21 In Missions

Personal discoveries during an extraordinary Holy Week

ITALY, Federico Bauml •

Traditionally during Holy Week, the Italian Schoenstatt Youth’s Family Mission took place. We asked two of the participants, Giacomo Zara and Anna Minici, to tell about it. —

“Whoever begins well is halfway done”

Giacomo, 23 years, was one of those overseeing the mission, an onerous task, characterized by a thousand unforeseen issues, brought to completion – together with Denise, another who was sharing the responsibility  – in the best possible way.

Here is his testimony.

“During the second half of this year’s Holy Week, part of Rome’s Santi Patroni parish’s youth group left the capital city to pursue the annual mission activity elsewhere. As was the case last year, their destination was the enchanting town of Vico Equense, located on Sorrentine Peninsula’s beautiful Riviera.

This experience, steeped in the tradition of the Family missions of the Movement, represents one of the few times in which the members of the community have had an occasion to pursue an activity that cuts across age differences, creating a family environment with the presence of both young people and older adults.

The Mission offered the chance to integrate with the local community in various ways: participation in the liturgies, animating the celebrations, visiting families, and even meeting the bishop. As before, the young missionaries have demonstrated that this year’s mission was filled with smiles: from those a bit puzzled as to who are these young people speaking with Roman slang knocking at the door (?), to those visibly touched by remembering us and happy to see us back a year later.

As the days passed, we could not help realizing that a goal like that of the Mission is not an individual enterprise or endeavor, but is in: in the open arms that welcomed us, the enthusiasm in meeting us, and in the sincerity with which every small obstacle was overcome. An energy manifested that transcended everyone, and which, as many have noted in their testimonies, we have been merely instruments.

A Church with closed doors ceases to be Church

The Mission’s days were a testimony of how there is a family where there is love, and how there is a home where the church is. “There is nothing extraordinary in what I have done to welcome you,” were the Pacognano parish priest’s words with which he greeted us before our departure, an expression, perhaps even more emphatic, of how every process of faith begins with an open door, and of how a Church with closed doors ceases to be the Church.

At the end of the four days so filled with emotion to almost preventing us to process it all, all the young people headed home with different baggage. All of us, though, did not leave the fair panorama of the Sorrentine peninsula without a bit of melancholy—or without the mental picture of the smiles we brought into people’s homes, and without a deep strengthening of hope that the youth represent the Church of the future.”

What is the mission?

We asked Anna, a “veteran of the missions” although she has just turned 18, “What is the mission to you?”

“During the Easter mission of this year, I have truly understood what significance this activity assumes for me. Entering the homes in the communities of Vico Equense and Pacognano, I came to realize how Mary and Jesus work in us young people and on the host families; it is not easy to welcome, even for a few minutes, strangers into one’s home, nor is it easy to pray and be an element of comfort and joy for people about whom we know nothing. In all the homes that I entered, generosity was a constant, a generosity that filled the heart and soul, and that revealed the true face of the risen Christ.

In the same way, I experienced the Divine greatness upon me. To be Mary’s “legs”, to carry the Pilgrim Mother shrine among the various families, made me understand that being a missionary means being an instrument, being led to spread the Word of God.

These were my words in meeting the bishop of the Sorrento hinterlands, who commenting on John 12:20-33 explained that in this project of ours we are the seeds, that give life to marvelous flowers.

I am grateful to have participated again this year in the Pilgrim Mother mission, as this has given me the privilege to be a small gear in the great and mysterious project God has for us.”

After these two beautiful testimonies, little more needs to be added, except for a phrase of our beloved Father and Founder: “ It is not I inventing the mission, it is God who created me to realize it.”

…Until the next Family Mission…


Photos: Denise Campagna.

Original: Italian. 8 April, 2018, Translation: Valerio Salvador, Johannesburg, S.A. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA

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