I have called you by name

From a “multi-ethnic” family to the desire to give his life to the Lord: the story of the vocation of Giorgio Ghigo, who became a priest on June 24th.

Giorgio Ghigo, 30 years old, from Cuneo, lives in the house of Vienna. He is pictured during the ordination celebration.

April ‘93. Everything began there. Born prematurely, I was abandoned by my mother in the wards of the pediatric hospital of Turin. The nurse decided to call me Giorgio, in order that the registry not substitute the “X” with any old name. Everything began there because, as I often repeat to myself, “I could have not been, but I am.” The courageous decision to carry a pregnancy to term, probably not expected or wanted, makes me pray everyday for the mother who gave God the possibility to do great things. After a few months in the isolette, taken care of by the nurses, my mother and father arrived to adopt me. “You are not and will never be alone”: this is the word of the gesture of God’s mercy. “Does a woman perhaps forget her child, and not be moved by the child of her womb? Even if they forget, I, instead, will never forget you” (Is 49:15). My family later also welcomed Radhika, from India, and Jesus Antonio from Colombia. A multi-ethnic family!

It was I who first asked my parents if I was born from their “tummy.” My mother, who did not expect this question so early on, told me: “No, Giorgio. You were not born from our tummy, but something greater. You were born from my and your father’s heart.” They repeated this phrase to me countless times, especially when at five years old, when I was more aware, they told me my story again. I remember crying a lot because I wanted to have been born from them. I didn’t want to be a “halfway” child; I wanted to be all theirs. In the years of seminary, with Fr. Franceso  and Fr. Paolo, I learned to look at my story, to keep going deeper into it. Because everything was already there at the beginning. Now this is what the Lord, who created you, who formed you, says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. […] Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” (Is 43:1-4). These words of God now have become like a foundation in my life, on which it is possible to build and to let everything be built. Nothing and no one can take them away, because they define my person in a totalizing way.

My family belongs to the Movement of Communion and Liberation and I received an education to Christianity from a young age. At the end of high school, however, my life was very fragmented: family, school, conservatory, girlfriend, sports, etc. I felt in my heart, however, the desire to be “one.”

For university, I chose Architecture because I wanted to become like Antoni Gaudí and construct a great work for God. I too wanted to be, as he defined himself, “an architect of God.” And so, I moved from Cuneo to Turin, and lived in the apartments of the CL college students. Life with them was incredible. It was a place where this desire for unity in my life was truly taken seriously and where I experienced that it is possible to have true friends.
It was at the beginning of my second year that I met the Fraternity of St. Charles. Three seminarians came to my school to present an exhibit on paternity in literature, and they asked us to give them a hand in the organization. I offered to be a tour guide. We were all struck by them, by their decision to become priests and by their friendship. What moved me the most was the joy that was in their eyes. It was clear that they were happy men. 

But if God should ask you to be like them, to leave everything to give your life to Him, would you be available?

Those eyes stuck with me. How was it possible that three young men, just a little bit older than me, could have such a life? I, who had “everything,” did not have that joy in my heart. I already saw myself as a brilliant architect, married and with many children, just like my family. And yet, the plans of God are always other and always more beautiful than our small “inventions made without love.” It was after the visit of those seminarians that the question presented itself: “But if God should ask you to be like them, to leave everything to give your life to Him, would you be available?”. Not without a fight, in the end, I recognized the road that God had thought up for me from the beginning. A road that, in 2015, brought me to the doors of the seminary in Rome. A road where God showed His faithfulness: “You are mine, you will never be alone.”

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