On Saturday, December 19, 2015, at St. Vicente Ferrer Church in Santiago, Chile, Alessio Cottafava and Tommaso De Carlini were ordained deacons in the hands of Msgr. Massimo Camisasca. Tommaso and Alessio are the first seminarians to complete their formation at our Latin American seminary. The rector of the seminary shares the story

The request to open the Latin American branch of our House of Formation in Chile was made to me by Msgr. Massimo Camisasca at the beginning of 2009.
At that time I was pastor at Blessed Pietro Bonilli parish, comprising an expansive community located in the southern outskirts of the city of Santiago, which is still entrusted to date to the priests of the Fraternity of St. Charles.
The proposal took me by surprise. I was aware that this would cause a new change in my life. I had become pastor little more than three years before and I was working in an environment that was full of difficult and fascinating missionary challenges. I was happy, and to accept this new responsibility meant not only leaving the parish, but also the many people who were growing fond of me.
Today I realize that what was called into play was simply obedience. The proposal was very real and at the same time, mysterious in its prospects and surrounding conditions. After all, isn’t this what happens every time God enters into the history of man? Doesn’t he call man to venture into unknown territories, entrusting himself completely to Him? I said yes, and spent a brief period of two or three months in Italy, to begin drafting a plan of action for the new project with Fr. Massimo.
I remember him telling me, “Every step you take must be shared with the Center of the Fraternity (its central governing body), but you should know that you are also called to write your own history with its unique characteristics.” These words have proven very true these recent years, as they have been characterized both by a profound unity with the Fraternity, and also by the awareness of the new meaning contained in preparing young men for the priesthood in Chile, on the outskirts of the world.
After the brief time spent in Italy, at the end of 2009 I returned to Chile and I began the search for a house that could host the new seminarians. It needed to accommodate two young Latin Americans, both of whom had met the Movement in their respective countries, and were knocking on our door. It also needed to accept seminarians from Italy who had been asked to complete their formation in Latin America after a period of formation in Rome.
The rectory where I had lived with other priests would not have adequately accommodated everyone. I put myself to work, and despite many uncertainties, I realized again that the signs of God’s presence were innumerable. He never abandoned me and pointed out for me the path to follow time and time again. After some months, my friendship with a Chilean architect and the generosity of an Italian benefactor allowed me to decide upon and purchase a new house, renovate it and, with the approval of the Diocese of Santiago, open it officially in June of 2011.
Today I live in that house with Tommaso, Alessio, Riccardo, Javier and Fr. Ruben Roncolato, who helps me in my work as rector. The house is located at an altitude of 800 meters (875 yards), on one of the slopes of the Andean Cordillera, in the northern part of Santiago.
Located in a quiet neighborhood, surrounded by greenery, it offers the seminarians an appropriate climate for their studies and prayer, as well as community life and manual work.
I have been a priest for 15 years. I have been entrusted with different responsibilities, in schools and parishes, but certainly the task of accompanying young men toward the priesthood, more than anything else, fills me with wonder and trepidation. I find myself to be a spectator of the divine’s mysterious character, and at the same time I try to sustain, with deep respect, the freedom of man who responds and adheres to this divine initiative.
Also, together with the seminarians, every day I place myself in the “school” of Christ, returning to learn that which I thought I already knew.
Tommaso and Alessio were ordained as deacons some short days ago. Their decisive “yes” is also a fruit of this brief history.
I am certain that they will carry into the world the gifts which they have received here in the seminary: that is, the familiarity with Christ’s person and the beauty which He deepens in the hearts of those who follow him with humility and passion.
martino de carli

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