A year has already gone by since Fr. Paolo, Fr. Stefano, and I left sunny and chaotic Naples to come up to the foggy and ordered Turin. Since then, Fr. Cristiano has joined us and, for this year, we will also be in the company of Pietro. We had the grace to inherit a large parochial house from the Marquise of Barolo. In the mid-1800s, before dying, our patron desired that a house be built beside the Church of Saint Julia in order to host a community of priests. She desired that there be priests who would dedicate themselves to the evangelization of the poor, who at the time inhabited the Vanchiglia neighbourhood. In fact, the area surrounding the church was swampy and unhealthy. Many holy priests have since then passed through this parish, giving their life for the community that still lives in the area today. The Marquise looks down from heaven today and smiles, because this story continues with the arrival of new priests.
Our life in common is the greatest help that we give to the families that meet us. The thing that fills people the most with awe is the friendship they see among priests. They have never seen priests who are happy to be living together and who help each other. Looking at us they regain courage and hope, and come to believe once more that living together constructively/in a constructive way is possible. During our Sunday homilies we often give examples from our fraternal life/life together: we talk of how we use technology at home, of the joy of telling each other the things that happen to us, of the advice we give each other, of how we make decisions, of how we correct and forgive each other. Whoever listens to us is able to easily use what he hears with his family at home.
We are rediscovering with parishioners the beauty of Sundays. The 10:30am Mass is dedicated to children/At 10:30am we have the children’s mass. Some are altar servers, others sing in the choir, while still do the readings. Fr. Paolo and Fr. Stefano preach while talking with those seated on the front benches. The children, hearing themselves called by name, discover that there is someone who waits for them to reply. Mothers do not have to make them come to church because they are happy to participate. From time to time they say such profound things that they leave us all speechless. Other times they say such nonsense that its hilarious.
Children find themselves happy to know that there is a place where to ask the truest of questions. In fact, most of the time at school such questions are not even taken into account, and having a natural a keen perception, the little ones are careful not to ask them. We were amazed to learn that we share with children the very same questions concerning God, life after death, Jesus, friendship, and life.
Once a month, with whomever desires it, we eat together at the parish. Everyone brings something to share with others. People from all over Italy live at Saint Julia’s: Letizia, from Tuscany, prepares pappa al pomodoro (a delicious tomato soup); Loredana, an authentic local, appetizers and boiled meat; luckily Carmela’s eggplant parmesan and Teresa’s fantastic pastiera (ricotta cheesecake) don’t make us miss Naples too much —you can even smell the kebobs on the grill. A group of dads helped install a barbecue in the courtyard and as soon as possible we will build a gigantic one. After lunch we sing together or play with the children. Others come to see the soccer matches. This soccer seasons’ scarce results —for us milanisti and juventini— has led us to prefer spending an afternoon along the banks of the Po River, enjoying the splendid view.
Sunday is great! Priests, families, and singles, all of us are rediscovering the experience of belonging to the great People of God. A dad confided to me: “When the weekend arrives, we used to not know what to do as a family. Should we go visit relatives? I could count the number of friends on one hand. Now we have somewhere to come where we can invite others. Sharing our difficulties and our joys, it is beautiful to discover we are not alone.”

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