At the end of the first year of seminary, every seminarian is asked to write their life story. Putting our story into writing is a task that allows each of us to return to the foundational events through which God has brought to maturation the idea of our vocation. It is an undertaking of memory and gratitude.
On the occasion of my ordination, I would like to look back at these events once again, conscious that the richness of my thirty years of life cannot be enclosed in such few lines. I apologize in advance to those who will read it. Due to limitations of space, in fact, I will not be able to offer many details about the persons of whom I will speak. But I do not believe that this is a problem. In the end, who knows the details of the life of Eliachim or Abiud, two among the many names in the long genealogy at the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew? And yet, they are fundamental names, because each of them is part of the chain that leads to Christ. I believe that the same goes for my case too. Every name is a link on the chain that has brought me to Christ. I am, nevertheless, certain that those directly implicated will not have any problems recognizing themselves in my words.
Above all, there is my family: my father, Giovanni, and my mother, Silvana, and my sister, Laura. From them, I have learned that every man needs a home, a place that reveals the regenerating force of gratuitous love. My life up to this point would be incomprehensible without looking at that initial spark that emerged within the walls of my first home.
Then, there is my teacher, Benedetta, who, at the end of my high school career, helped me to reverse a failing grade in mathematics and introduced me to the Movement. I thank her for not having limited herself to just the tutoring.
During my years studying architecture in Ferrara, thanks to Angelo and Giovanni, I discovered what friendship is. I have always thought that if they had entered seminary with me, then we would have been able to convert an entire nation! God had other plans. Today, now that I find myself in Washington studying marriage and the family, I look to them, to their wives and children, as luminous expressions of what it means to be a family.
I want to thank Carlo and Pia who always had an open door for me when I needed it. From them, I have learned about love and dedication to the Church, to the Movement, and to every man.
Enrico, Davide, and Fabrizio taught me that charity is the most noble form of entrepreneurship.
Then there is Fr. Marco, on mission in Bologna. Thanks to him, to his paternal friendship, the idea of priesthood became flesh; the possibility of a full and happy life spent in the service of Christ and of men became real. For the years in seminary, the most vivid thanks go to Fr. Paolo, Fr. Francesco, Fr. Giovanni and Fr. Michael. Their teaching, their great patience and their paternity have guided and sustained every step I have taken. More than any other thing, however, it was watching their own personal journey of sanctity lived in communion with us that, day after day, that kindled the flame within me to give my life to Chrsit.
And finally, I want to thank my current house of Washington: Antonio, Roberto, the two José and Stefano. Today, they are the guardians of that first spark that emerged in my family. The more that time passes, the more that, behind all of these faces, “my” holy faces, a great Face becomes transparent. “They become,” as Chieffo sings, “Someone, become You, Father great and good, who, out of love, began the game.”
Tommaso Badiani, 33 years old, originally from Prato, lives in the house of Washington, DC. He studies at the John Paul II Institute for studies on marriage and family.