Italy: The Naples Community - Gospel Centres
The sower went out to sow … (Mt 13: 3)
We were invited to Naples ten years ago. We live in a district on the outskirts of the city where there are various churches and Jehovah’s Witnesses. This has created divisions within families, with questions and inability to dialogue as people are not sufficiently instructed and informed.
We are attentive to this reality and the Lord, who precedes and accompanies our mission, has raised up among the people the desire to meet so as to pray together, go more deeply into our faith and get to know the Gospel.
From the first month we were invited to the homes of various families for Gospel reading and for prayer. Each family invited another family, and the following week the appointment would be with a different one. All this made it possible for us to enter into the locality, to know people and to create bonds of friendship, to have the opportunity to share together times of joy, illness or difficulty.
Arising from these encounters and relations a group of laypeople was formed. They collaborate with us and we meet once a month to share our spirituality, study the Word of God, make the Congregation known. This enabled them to open up to questions of interest, both everyday ones and those at a world level. In the course of the year we studied some papers from the file: "The charism of E. Pernet and A. Fage brings together L.S.A. and Laity in one family".
There is a family atmosphere during these meetings with freedom to express oneself and to share life at a deep level. Also, we often had some festive times together.
On the 26th of December, feast of Saint Stephen, we had the oppor-tunity to celebrate the Eucharist in our house with Fr Marcel A.A. and some of his confreres whom we have welcomed several times and whom we now expect with joy and friendship.
On the occasion of the Year of Faith, our parish, in line with a diocesan initiative, decided to set up "centres for listening to the Word" in four zones, one of which was assigned to the LSA community and a deacon, Roberto, with his wife Marisa. For three years we have been meeting each week in a building belonging to the local authority which we LSA had asked to use.
Initially we did considerable work, visiting all the families and inviting them to participate in the meetings; it was not always easy to arouse some interest, but many of them welcomed us – it was the Word that brought us together, involved us.
The first two years we listened to, prayed and meditated on the Gospel of the following Sunday; this year, on the contrary, we read the Gospel of Mark, with the help of a schema prepared for the whole diocese.
In the course of this journey a group took shape, one that was animated by the desire to hear, understand and compare the Gospel with their life. For some it was easy to open up to listening, to change; others simply intervened by describing the discovery of the Lord present in their own life – together, all of us felt that we were a faith community.
On the Tuesday of Holy Week this year we celebrated in our house, for the second time, the Jewish-Christian Passover. It was a celebration that was prepared and carried out with conviction and seriousness; we savoured the different phases of the celebration.
The washing of the feet was an emotional occasion during which each one asked forgiveness of the other; this gesture was imprinted on each one’s heart as a gift, a grace to be retained. The Lord placed in the heart of all who were there a longing for Him, the desire to follow Him and bear witness to Him.
"Your Word is a lamp for my steps" and He who guides our steps, who brings us together, arouses desires and conversions.
It is a grace for us to make this journey with the people, and to be pupils of Jesus together, to communicate our experience of the encounter with the other.
"And the one who received the seed in good soil is the one who hears the word and understands it; this is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty." (Mt 13:23)
"One of the results of fruits of contemplation is no longer seeing persons and things as we had seen them up to then. If they appear to us reflections of God, each one in his or her own way speaks to us of God and says: I am His Work. E. Pernet 06/09/1894
Sisters Giovanna, Rosaria and Giovanna