I had been looking forward to participating in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia for about two years, ever since I found out it would be here in the U.S. It was so great to participate in the events of the Congress, attending many wonderful talks, including speakers such as Bishop Robert Barron, who inspired us to leave mediocrity behind and live in the unity of the extravagant demand of morality in the Church coupled with extravagant mercy – not choosing between one or another, but living both fully. Cardinal Robert Sarah exhorted us to share the kerygma with our brothers and sisters who are falling into the same temptation as the first man and the first woman, the lie that God does not want our fulfillment, and therefore we have to find it for ourselves. But the kerygma, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, is the truth that the world is looking for, and is to be handed on first and foremost in the family. That is just two short summaries of a full week of teachings. Another highlight was listening to Gianna Emmanuela Molla speak about her mother, St. Gianna, with such joy and animation. What an amazing gift to be in the presence of the daughter of a saint! There were so many graces!
And while I had been looking so much forward to this World Meeting of Families, an even greater highlight of my week was the time together with my Emmanuel Community brothers and sisters. It was so special to be welcomed by Patricia and Michal and their children in their home. And day after day, more and more brothers and sisters arrived. Brothers and sisters that we had never met before, and yet we had an instant bond because of our common call in our path to holiness through the Community. The Mercy Night and times of prayer and masses together were a true gift and a revitalization for Pablo and I.
One other special gift for us was the presence of my sister, Mary, her husband, Robert, and four of their ten children, Joseph, Malana, Timothy, and Kieran. It was great to spend the weekend with them as we journeyed to see Pope Francis and to have them experience the Emmanuel Community for the first time.
Thank you, Lord, for these blessed experiences and unexpected gifts!
The whole trip was full of memorable moments for me.
I was touched by Patricia and Michal’s hospitality in light of the fact that they are moving to a new place at the end of the month. The little household session we had together with Rosemary. I loved meeting the Emmanuel School of Mission group; Anna’s cool personality and beautiful voice; speaking in very personal terms with Gerro; hearing Fr. Charles at Chilis’ speak of the Mass, which he will celebrate later that night, as “an obligation of love;” laughing with Alejandra; admiring Fr. Jean-Baptiste; impressed with Nancy’s social skills; loving Amy and Thomas (and their kids) and the organic pears; witnessing Patricia’s evangelistic zeal and Michal’s egg making skills; sharing a room with Truong and Thao and getting to know them, and Steven; laughing at Hubert’s jokes and being amazed that he would take the time to come and be with us; speaking to Henrick about Rocky on the stairs in Philadelphia. On top of all of that, we had Anne’s family and the time we spent with them; it was all really good. My favorite part of the trip was the time we spent at the house celebrating Mass. To break bread, the very body of Christ, in a community united by Christ’s very sacrifice, in love, fellowship, worship, etc.
It’s truly a beautiful, personal, and deep communal experience; an experience that I wish everyone could have.
Written by Anne and Pablo (GA)