Castel Gandolfo (Rome). From 27 to 30 April 2023, in Castel Gandolfo at Mother Morano House of St. John Bosco Province (IRO), Novices of ten different Congregations met to live a community experience of service, prayer, sharing and listening, fun and reflection, fraternity and everyday life.

The experience was organized by SIC (Only together do we grow), the Inter-congregational School of the Castelli Romani, to intensify the experience that the School offers in the ordinary nature of the lessons attended by female and male Novices on a weekly basis.

Sharing the most ordinary aspects of life such as meals, prayer, cleaning was the common denominator that allowed us to live together some significant experiences of mission and service. Among these was participation in the prayer vigil for vocations of the Diocese of Albano, which was held in Aprilia on the evening of 27 April on the theme, “You are a wonderful polyhedron”. Other experiences were the animation of the Sunday Holy Mass in the parish of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castel Gandolfo and the work with the non-profit association Retake, actively engaged in the care of common goods, for the cleaning of a path near the river Tiber in Rome.

Reflection went hand in hand with service, with the catechesis of Fr. Francesco Volpintesta, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, which was followed by personal meditation and then group sharing, as well as a guided visit to the Church of San Lorenzo outside the walls by Fr. Andrea Lonardo, Director of the Service for Culture and the University of the Diocese of Rome, a film club, and other spaces for sharing among the Novices.

There was no lack of moments of fun and games which, as the Saints teach, are indicators of a full life with the Lord and in community. Experiences like these help to see the Inter-congregational School as it is: not a university, not a place to simply learn new things, but a laboratory of the Church and of synodality, where one can appreciate one’s own wealth only by recognizing that of the other.

A call from the Lord to walk together: this is, according to Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the future of consecrated life, in the face of a widespread decline in vocations to religious life.

“We are grateful to be able to be part of this ‘future’ which shows us a possible way, already today, to share the great desire to follow the Lord”, conclude the Novices of the International Novitiate Mary Help of Christians of Castel Gandolfo.


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