Thank you, all parents, families, children, friends and ex-members, who came to our recent Open Day to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the opening of our Cenacolo House on 8 December 1999. We, the twelve lads at Our Lady from Knock House, were very pleased and surprised at how many guests we welcomed on that day. Even the mother of a boy from Italy and the parents of a brother from Slovakia had come. To our great joy, Don Massimo Poldo and Fratel Denis also arrived from Italy to give us advice and support during these days. Finally, it was a very special joy and honour for us to welcome the new Archbishop of Tuam, Mons. Francis Duffy. Bishop Francis stayed with us for half a day to get to know our community. Altogether, we experienced two days, in the true spirit of Advent, that brought us closer to the Lord.
We started at noon on Saturday in our packed St Joseph’s Hall with Holy Mass led by Bishop Francis, and the Bishop found kind words in his homily to explain our life in community. He spoke about the three pillars of our life in Cenacolo – prayer, work and friendship – as the basis of the authentic Christian life that we want to practice in the spirit of our Mother Elvira.
After Holy Mass, Roman, our responsible, welcomed all the guests and invited them to lunch, which the brothers had prepared with much love in the kitchen. Now there was time for many conversations with the families who had come to see their sons again, and with many friends and ex-members.
At around 3pm we all reunited at St Joseph’s Hall to pray the rosary, which accompanies us throughout the day at Cenacolo and protects and strengthens us on our way to a new life. After this beautiful moment of common prayer, Don Massimo invited the ex-members present to give testimony of their walk in the community. Damian from Dublin, now a father of twelve children, and John from England took heart and gave testimony of their journeys in community that freed them from drugs and gave them a new, full life in faith. Three girls, Sharon, Teresa and Joy also gave moving testimonies about their paths to new freedom and joy of life in Cenacolo. Finally, the mother of Patrick, a boy who has only been with us for three months, expressed her great joy with her whole family that her son is finally doing better, and we all rejoiced with her.
We also listened with gratitude to Jean from England, whose daughter has been in the community for over 20 years. She did not miss the opportunity to come to our meeting despite her age and illness. Thank you very much, Mama Jean!
The typical Cenacolo songs and dances, the ‘gesti’, rehearsed by our brothers in recent weeks, rounded off the afternoon with enthusiasm and good humour.
Then it was time to get ready for the nativity play. We put on our costumes and put the lamb and donkey in their stalls in the little Bethlehem that we had built on our grounds in recent weeks with a lot of dedication and attention to detail. After many rehearsals we were confident that everything would go well with the nativity play, especially since some children were also playing along with us brothers in the house. In the end, we experienced a wonderful moment with all our guests, in which everything was just right and we could already feel the Christmas joy in advance, which the Christ Child wants to give us again this year. A special thank you goes to Davide, one of the founder members of our fraternity in 1999, and his daughter Anna, who took the time to portray Mary and Joseph this year. It was beautiful, thank you very much!
After this pre-Christmas highlight, which Bishop Francis also took part in to our delight, we were able to fortify ourselves with a snack and warm up with a hot tea before we left for Knock to have an hour of adoration in the Apparition Chapel in Knock Shrine. In this way we were able to thank the Lord and Our Lady of Knock for the 23 years of our house and to entrust to their love and mercy all our concerns and worries, joys and needs. Under the leadership of Father Declan, this beautiful day ended with heartfelt songs of adoration and freely formulated prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. Thank you, Jesus and Mary!
On Sunday morning we got up early in the house to prepare everything anew for our guests, so we could start the new day together with a beautiful rosary. Afterwards, Father Adrian led us through a solemn Sunday Eucharist that touched us. In his homily, he awakened and deepened what Mother Elvira longs for all the boys and girls in the community and also for all friends and families: that we fix our hearts in Jesus and firmly decide to walk our life’s journey with him, to find peace and joy in life.
The Holy Mass strengthened our spirits and souls, and afterwards the brothers in the kitchen again took care of everyone’s physical well-being, having prepared a good lunch. The afternoon was once again reserved for conversations and encounters, before we closed the Open Day 2022 with a rosary of mercy and our guests slowly made their way home. Our prayers go with you, dear families and dear friends, God bless!
A thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all who attended and helped us run this Open Day. A special thank you to Bishop Francis for the honour of his visit and to Fr Adrian, Fr Declan, Don Massimo Poldo and Fratel Denis for their friendship and spiritual support. In the coming year, let us all continue on the path that Mother Elvira has shown us and look forward to the Silver Jubilee of our House in two years’ time …
With gratitude, the boys of the ‘Our Lady of Knock’ Cenacolo House wish you a Merry Christmas in the joy of the Child Jesus, and a Blessed New Year!
Even though nobody came to visit me during the open day, I felt great joy seeing my brothers’ reunion with their families and rebuild their relationships with them. Maybe some day I will be able to do the same.
Joyful loving and powerful spiritual experience would be an understatement for this special weekend I had with the Cenacolo Community, giving me strength for my walk, bless you brothers and sisters.
The family day was the most amazing and joyful day, was a fun filled weekend. It was great to give comfort and healing to families of everyone in the community, to see us all dancing, singing, enjoying life as it should be. Thanks
Voglio racontarvi una piccolo testimonianza di quello che ho vissuto durante l’open day. Questo open day per me era molto particolare, perche avevo da organizzarlo per la prima volta. Già durante il periodo di preparazione ho visto la forza della preghiera e dei sacrifici che abbiamo messo tutti noi in casa. Alla fine abbiamo vissuto due belle giornate con le nostre famiglie e anche il nostro archivescovo è venuto per vivere questo momento con noi. Tutto andavo molto bene e sono rimasto molto grato per questo. La presenza di Don Massimo Poldo e fratel Dennis da Italia e la loro amicizia è stato un grande dono e sostegno per noi. La mia famiglia non poteva venire questa volta ma mi sono sentito neanche un minuto da solo, perche so che adesso faccio parte di una famiglia molto più grande. La grande felicità perme è stato accogliere le famiglie dei miei fratelli e farli sentirsi bene. Grazie
My emotions were turbulent throughout the family day from start to finish. I felt quite anxious, a general unrest, when waiting for my family to arrive, I anticipated meeting them, how it might go. When they arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at how happy they were to see me. This happiness carried throughout our whole time together. They seemed full of joy to see me dancing and having fun with my brothers in the community in a fun playful way without alcohol and drugs. It was amazing to see my younger brothers, who saw me drunk in a mess for a long time, now happy, dancing a “Gesti”-Song and clean!! Don Massimo invited my family and me up to give testimony and I couldn’t help but to tear up, when I saw my mother cry while talking about how happy she was that I came here. She can finally sleep at night. I was sad to see them go, when they left, but they left confident in the knowledge, that I could get help in Cenacolo. They left happy and even shared, how proud they were of me. This whole experience of the open day was beautiful for me, because for the first time in a long time I was able to give my family something other than pain, to take nothing! For once I gave them hope!
Quello che mi ha toccato dalla festa della casa di questi ventitre anni della presenza del Cenacolo a Knock, è stato sopratutto la gioia, dopo la corsa dei praparativi, nel vedere tanta, tanta gente, famiglie, amici e figli e figlie del Cenacolo, riuniti per passare qualche giorno insieme, tra momenti di preghiera, di testimonianza e di festa. Sotto la benedizione di nostra Signora di Knock, che ci ha donato due splendde giornate, anche se un po fredde, la piacevole presenza dell’Arcivescovo Francis che ha inaugurato l’incontro celebrando la messa e rimanendo con noi fino alla sera. Ho visto i frutti del lavoro du tutti i fratelli che si sono donati per accogliere gli invitati. La festa è per noi e noi abbiamo cercato di renderla un momento prezioso per le nostre vite.
Voglio raccontare una piccola testimonianza sul giorno delle famiglie: Una cosa che sono stato molto felice è stato vedere mia mamma in Irlanda e il pregare con mia mamma è stato un’emozione bella e felice. Prima io e mia mamma non eravamo stati cosi uniti e ringrazio la comunità per questi giorni passati con mia mamma in comunità. Un’altra cosa che voglio dire: Mi è piacuto anche fare il presepe. Per me è stato una grande emozione, avevo tanta ansia di fare il presepe ma poi mi sono detto ora lo faccio senza paura e lo fatto. E poi ho visto queste persone mi dicono sei stato bravo. Loro mi hanno incorraggiato. Prima della comunità Io sono stato una persona che ho fatto deludere la mia famiglia, e voglio ringraziare la comunità per il dono di essere in Irlanda e di essere una persona amata dagli altri. Voglio ringraziare sopratutto Madre Elvira per il suo Si e per il dono della vita.
La prima cosa che mi ha riempito il mio cuore con gioia è stato che miei genitori hanno decisi di venire dalla Slovacchia in Irlanda per stare con me. Ho ringraziato la nostra Signora di Knock per questo e ho chiesto Lei a fare sentire la sua presenza speciale nei cuori dei miei genitori. Poi durante le testimonianze è arrivato il momento quando mia mamma ha iniziato a piangere lungo e tanto. Ho chiesto perche e lei mi ha risposto: Mi è venuto tutto questo dolore e sofferenza che abbiamo vissuto con te prima della comunità. Ho abbracciato mia madre e lei continuava: Ho vissuto un momento duro e pesante, pero anche un momento di guarigione! In questo momento ho sentito forte la presenza della Madonna. Ho pregato e sempre prego per il dono della guarigione dei miei rapporti specialmente nella mia famiglia. Grazie alla comunità, che mi ha fatto vedere come grande il dono della mia famiglia è per me e che con Gesù e Maria possano guarire le nostre ferite, anche delle più profonde. Grazie, Nostra Signora di Knock, che ci porti a Gesù, che fai miracoli per noi. Grazie per il dono della guarigione.
Our family day was for me very special, I found a new understanding why I am here: I have to work on forgiving my parents and myself to find my freedom.