Early in 2006, on the eve of their departure to Guam to serve as Neocatechumenal missionaries, Enrico and Francesca Da Ponte were interviewed by Francesca Bellemo, a reporter for the Venetian Catholic website “Gente Veneta.it” (or here).
When Bellemo asked, “What challenges await you?”, Enrico replied,
“First of all it is a perpetually hot and humid climate in which we will have to get used to. In Guam they speak English, and my wife is helped by her experience in Ireland and from her studies, I will have to learn.
His wife Francesca then added,
The island is civilized and lives many contradictions: a great outward adherence to the worship is not accompanied by an authentic faith. And it is a country that does not live, as is the case here [Italy], secularization: the churches are still full of people, but these are people who adhere only outwardly to the Christian message and then in everyday life do not behave in a way adhering to their beliefs. Our task is also to give witness to that of the Christian family model that the Lord has called us to live.”
We’ve been judged!
“Andiamo agli antipodi per servire“, http://www.genteveneta.it/public/articolo.php?id=2168 (or here), January 13, 2006. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
3 thoughts on “We’ve been judged!”
Members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, lay men and women who work at Jesuit apostolates around the world, have the right idea when they say that their work “ruins them for life.” What they mean, of course, is that significant aspects of their own worldview will be challenged and changed (for the good) through their collaboration with the people they serve.
I suspect that this might be what Archbishop Byrnes means when he says that he will come and “listen.” He’ll undoubtedly perceive our needs, but not without recognizing the presence of Christ already here.
Dear Charles White, Tim Rohr and whoever might have felt hurt by the statement I made in 2006 when we were interviewed in Venice before coming to the mission.
I heartily apologize if you felt judged by my words, this wasn’t my intention since I don’t know you personally and I’m sure that your faith is much greater than mine.
I know I don’t have faith , I see it every day. I simply don’t have it but I’ve found a place in the Church where I can receive the faith I lack, to endure the struggling I encounter daily, in my marriage, in raising our children etc.. I’m a witness that there is an “intensive care unit” in the Church where the weak people like me can receive help, through the sacraments, listening to the Word of God weekly and having a Christian community of brothers and sisters who also receive the help they need to live their Christian life, a place where I can listen to the preaching of the kerigma that is simply a life saver for me.
This is not a club for the best ones, on the contrary, it is a place for the “sick”. In these eleven years in mission here in Guam I’ve met many people with a strong and deep faith who have edified me and made me desire, one day, to have it myself. However I’ve also met many people who suffer a lot in their lives, some who have lost their faith or the meaning of their lives, who have a broken marriage, or an addiction to gambling, pornography, drugs or alcohol that keeps them enslaved, youth, and even children, who have no hope and are contemplating suicide. For these people I am a witness that to have a Christian marriage it’s possible despite my weakness, my sins and my lack of faith. In these years I’ve seen people helped by our testimony and now their lives are different. This is an encouragement for me to continue.
Again, I don’t feel like a healthy person who gives others advises on how to live a healthy life but a sick person who has found a cure for her “cancer”, someone out there may benefit from it.
My apologies for the generalization and for my arrogance
Oh, Francesca, that is no apology at all. You are only saying that because after 10 years, you were embarrassed by my post. If you really were apologizing for your arrogant statement, you’d be much more specific. How about this, “I was wrong. I discovered that many Catholics on Guam, not in the Way, have an authentic Christian faith and live that faith every day. I am sorry.”