So that nothing be lost

The vocation story of Giacomo Landoni, newly ordained priest of the Fraternity of St. Charles.

Giacomo Landoni, 34 years old, from Milano, lives in Rome and works in the general secretariat of the Fraternity of St. Charles. Pictured, an embrace after the diaconal ordination (July 2022).

The first time that the strange idea of entering the seminary crossed my mind was on the morning of August 14, 2013: I had just returned from a pilgrimage to Czestochowa. 120 kilometers in the middle of the Polish countryside together with several hundred young people who, like me, were finishing university and going to the Black Madonna to entrust their future to her.

Of course, I can see now that God has used everything in my life to make me His own, but I also recognize that some rather peculiar things had happened that year. Above all, a relationship with a girl did not go as I would have wished: the wound was there, but there was also gratitude for experiencing the truth of falling in love, along with the certainty that my life was beautiful. What made it beautiful? The more I asked myself this, the more my answer to myself was that everything beautiful in my life, in one way or another, had to do with my faith: friendships, sports, family… Although I often could not articulate the connection between Christ and what I was living, it was clear to me, however, that if I took Him out of my life, there would be nothing beautiful left.

It is for this reason that, at the beginning of my final year of university, I decided to go to Czestochowa. There, I had a true experience of fullness; even though I was missing many friends and the many things that usually filled my life, in those days, I was happy. And what were we doing, if not walking behind the cross of Christ?

My whole life had been a preparation for my heart to be able to care for that little seed

And so, on that morning of the 14th of August, 2013, I was fulminated by this thought: and if the good Lord were asking me to give all of my life to say to everyone that life with Him is the most beautiful and fullest life that there is? This thought simply came to me: it wasn’t the outcome of thinking, but a thought that was given to me. It would have been easy to suffocate it, but now I understand that my whole life had been a preparation for my heart to be able to care for that little seed: the esteem for the figure of the priest that I had learned from my family, the importance of prayer that my parents had communicated to me, the beauty of Christian faith that I had lived with friends from high school and college.

In September, after summer vacation had ended, I went to entrust this thought to Don Marco Barbetta, who was already a dear friend of mine. Once I had spilled the beans, Don Marco, then as well as throughout the following year, did not give me any great solutions; instead, he invited me to continue doing what I had to do, those things that I was most involved in and that were causing me to grow the most. Over time, I understood why he never pointed me to genius solutions, which I was expecting and almost demanding: it was because he was called to guard and serve the relationship that God had begun with me, advising me and correcting me, but always inviting me to seek the answers to the questions I had in my life and in dialogue with God.
It was following that path that, in the three years that followed, this strange desire that I had to serve God found a concrete response in the encounter with the Fraternity of St. Charles, above all, in the person of Fr. Matteo Invernizzi and then of Fr. Francesco Ferrari. Those years also saw the flowering of my personal relationship with God in prayer and in the truth of certain friendships, so much so that it was precisely through the friendship with certain people that I understood that I truly wanted to give my entire life to Christ. The ultimate indecision was defeated.

On September 6, 2016, Fr. Paolo Sottopietra welcomed me into the House of Formation of the Fraternity of St. Charles. My story is not a sensational one. Yet, the greatness and beauty of the ordinariness I experienced is all part of a good plan that, over time, was being revealed to me, one I was called to follow so that everything that was already good and beautiful in my life would not be lost, but rather bear even more fruit.

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