Pentecost in Rome with the Pope Francis24 may 2013
At the end of Mass in St. Peter's Square, Stefano di Franco and Franco Perozzi had the grace to be chosen to greet the Pope Francis...
Our Italian friends represented Faith and Light International in Rome during the gathering of the new communities and movements for the feast of Pentecost. They were able to attend two days of conferences, Mass at Santa Maria in Trastevere and... they were more than a hundred for the rally on Saturday in St. Peter's Square and the Sunday Mass of Pentecost. At the end of the Mass, Stefano di Franco (provincial coordinator) and Franco Perozzi had the grace to be chosen to greet the Pope Francis!
Zaccheus and his Tree
It was a beautiful and blessed day. We have been very lucky. When they told me that we were going to greet the Pope, Franco and I, I did not believe it, I thought it was a joke. Franco and I have been friends for 34 years, since I came to Faith and Light ! I thought, see where Franco brought you up to it slowly.
The night before, I was very excited and I thought about what I would say to the Pope, but more importantly what the Pope would say to me. I thought of many speeches and I had fantasized about imaginary dialogues.
Franco Perozzi who was with me, was instead very quiet. For him it was obviously quite normal to stay in front of the Holy Father, he has close to Jesus all day long. It went well and was simple. I shared the greetings from all the Faith and Light communities of the world and from Jean Vanier. The Holy Father thanked me. And Franco told the Pope that a Faith and Light community must start in Sienna (Toscana) because this is the place where he was born !
"A community must start in Sienna !"
But apart from my personal expectations, I felt the weight of representing the whole Faith and Light family, all the persons with a disability, all moms and dads, all friends who have been the strength of Faith and Light for years, it was very intense. I do not know how to explain. I felt like in the story of Zacchaeus... as if during all these years I had done everything possible to help the people with disabilities to climb the tree to watch Jesus... I believed my role was from the tree... but instead... Franco, and all the guys were my tree.... and I was Zacchaeus.
Stefano di Franco
Drums Rolls !
My joy is so great that I want to share with you all ! This morning, I sang pontaneously "I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”!(Psalm 121)...
Thank you to the International for allowing us to attend this gathering with Pope Francis. Truly, you just need to say "yes" to give the Holy Spirit the strength to act and then we can see Him at work.
Have you seen and heard all what happened, all what I've seen and heard? It was a gifted experience , especially when the name of Faith and Light was quoted by Archbishop Fisichella on St Peter's Square, I could not hide my tears of joy! Fede e Luce on St. Peter's Square...
I will never forget the phone call from Monseigneur Sozzi telling me that Faith and Light was chosen to greet the Pope Francis at the end of the Pentecost Mass. What a grace! I never imagined that we would have to play such a prominent role!
I remembered what was Faith and Light from the beginning and I thought, "more than 40 years have passed, and how many of us are there today? ..."
I note that the drum rolls have not stopped... What are we going to be called now? Are we ready and willing to continue to share about our beautiful movement? Are we ready to say other "yes" Personnaly, I say YES to joy but also to the suffering that coexist in Faith and Light. Our feast does not stop. May God bless our joy and Mary protect us !
Paolo Tantaro, President of the Faith and Light Italian association.
Paolo and Stefano, St Peter's Square