I write this entry with the deepest sense of humility and gratitude to the Lord for what He is doing in our lives. This past Thursday evening, October 21, David, I and Katie, along with another couple (going to Zambia) and two sisters (going to Algeria), were mandated by the Diocese of Rome for missionary work. This spectacular and most holy event took place at one of the four major basilicas, St. John Lateran, and was presided over by Agostino Cardinal Vallini, the Cardinal Vicar.
It began with an enactment of the presentation of the gospel in foreign lands, a Brazilian choir creating the perfect tone. Then as our names and destinations were called, each of the seven of us stated, “Eccomi” (here I am). Standing before the altar, we professed our belief in the creed and then were led in front of the Cardinal. Kneeling, we kissed the New Testament and a crucifix as they were given to us, which he then placed around our necks. As the Cardinal did not speak English and we speak no Italian, there were only warm smiles all around and a handshake. Surely we had died and gone to Heaven? We returned to our seats to the glowing smiles of the many Canossian Sisters who had come in support and who later said they had never witnessed such a beautiful commissioning in all their lives of missionary work.
It closed with the newly mandated group following the cross back up the aisle, then into the sacristy, accompanied all the while by the heavenly choir. In the sacristy, we posed for photos with the Cardinal Vicar, followed by many congratulatory handshakes and incomprehensible Italian compliments (we think).
We hope that the photographs below give you some sense of the glorious nature of that evening. We surely had no idea the Lord would go to such lengths to show us His blessing on our life in Timor Leste. [posted by Rory]
*Translation: Diocesan Missionary Vigil: “Breaking bread for all peoples”
Note: click on a photo to see it full size. Also, here is an article on the Diocese of Rome website that tells about it. Use the Google translator for a rough translation if you don’t speak Italian.