The visit of Fr Eugênio Barbosa Martins, the Superior General, and Fr Giulio Maccali, General Consultor, to our community of Modugno filled our hearts with joy and gratitude for the simplicity and fraternity they showed us. But it also aroused in their hearts a certain curiosity about our Eucharistic lifestyle that they experienced on the mornings they spend with us.
In our Church, every morning, there is a delightful stream of mothers, fathers, grandparents … who accompany their children in coming to greet Jesus in the Tabernacle with a short prayer, which is prompted by a large photo album and religious texts always being updated, to receive small messages, which recall a phrase from the Gospel or a message about living, dedicated to parents and to children, so they can all start their day in serenity.
During the important seasons of the liturgical year we give them every day a holy picture related to various topics (Bible, Life of Jesus, Life of the saints, the Parables or Sunday Gospels). They keep these in an album with bright pages which help them to interiorize the contents, involving the parents who become the first catechists for their children, with joy and generosity.
The recipients of this project, which has kept on going now for 10 years, we call “Friends of the morning”. These are children starting from kindergarten until the 5th elementary class, together with their parents. They find something good while they remain in church, before going to the nearby “Don Milani” school.
It seems worthwhile to mention that it is moving to see mothers kneeling while embracing their children as they point to the tabernacle and speak of Jesus or read to the smallest the prayer of the day from the large album or teach the little ones how to genuflect or make the sign of the cross.
Our hope is that a permanent impression will be made on these children by the example of their parents and also by that of the priests and lay people present in the Church at that time reciting Morning Prayer. “It is witnessing that generates faith – the most important form of religious education for children is to see his parents praying”. Pope Luciani used to say: “My first catechism teacher was my mother”.
“The seed sown today will give its fruits tomorrow”. This is seen already from the presence of many of them in the youth group and afterwards – the confirmation group of our community. And we hope that we are not mistaken in thinking this initiative undertaken for children and youth may become a “privileged garden” where the Lord’s call may take root for their future. For this reason we will like to begin, with some of them, a vocational path, as suggested by our Father General during his visit.
The Lord has given our Parish a great gift. Thank you so much “Friends of the Morning”! Keep on going!
20 June 2017
Father Giancarlo Donzelli, sss