Saturday 17 September at the novitiate of Genoa, 29-year-old Christian, pronounced his first vows.
“I will remember a sunny and windy day, like so many in September, then the faces, the hugs in the light of a dazzling late summer afternoon, my family at my side, the scouts of the Genoa 40 clan behind me, almost a small spontaneous fan club. And above everything and everyone, on the altar, the Blessed Sacrament raised high, clasped in the Provincial’s hands, in front of whom I offered everything I have, everything I am, because whatever I have has been given to me, and above all, what I am. Could this be the meaning of the vows I made? Who knows! Thank God the vows are much more than the little we can understand, feel, and see. And that is why I will only remember an afternoon full of light, wind and the Holy Spirit.
A desire: to be a man of God, for others
Born in 1993 in Bisaccia in the province of Avellino, to an Italian mother and an Albanian father, he spent his childhood and adolescence in Andretta, in the green Irpinia. He loves Guccini, chess, philosophy and detective stories. Sensitive and reserved but also curious and determined, ‘I was a mixture still in transformation. Today I review my life as concentric circles, a progressive expansion of horizons. He made a physical but also inner journey from the small old world of the provinces to the deep north, driven by a desire that he wanted to fulfil: to be a man of God, for others’.
In the Posillipo Seminary
After graduating from high school in Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi in the summer of 2012, he felt this desire during an experience of a year of discernment and service in the parish of Lioni, and then, in the autumn of 2013, he actually joined the Interregional Seminary of Posillipo in Naples, linked to the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy, where he spent the five years of formation for the priesthood and the study of philosophy and theology. “The seminary represents to me a symbol of the experience of a possible fraternity and the maturing of the experience of God, through the discovery of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises”.
Entry into the novitiate of Genoa
The Ignatian element, thanks to the presence of the Jesuits, opened up to him a type of vocation that required of him a further shift of viewpoint. “I feel that the formula of the Society represents that something more of becoming that man of God at the service of others that I wish to be. But, according to the principle of gradualness, it was not yet the time for me to join the Society. So, in September 2018, I left Naples and my diocese of origin, the diocese of Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi, and set off for Villa S. Ignazio in Trento, where I spent a year as a resident volunteer in the social hosting cooperative’. It was a strong sharing experience that ‘helped me grow in humanity and somehow confirmed to me my desire for service. In August 2019, still very much alive in me the desire for the Society amidst the many external and internal impulses that are often conflicting, thanks to the help of my spiritual father, I took the step forward. In October 2019 I was welcomed into the Jesuit community of Villa S. Giuseppe in Bologna specifically for the experience of a year of discernment for the Society within the project On the Road to Damascus. During this year the main tool for discernment was the journey of the EVO (Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life) which I experienced with university students at the Poggeschi Centre‘.
In October 2020, he entered the novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province in the community of Genoa. Last Saturday, he made his first vows, ‘a larger horizon to be discovered. The journey continues’.
“An emotional moment both for what the vows in the Society represent and for the affection we have for our brother Christian, who welcomed us last year with his smile, his love and his kindness,” the six first-year novices said. “We wish him all the best and a truly happy life.”