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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
West Country parishioner joins Cistercians in Rome
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¬†Obre Arundell, parish secretary at St Dominic's in Dursley, Gloucestershire, attended the final profession of fellow parishioner Michael Italese. She sends the following report. The Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist was a very special day in the life of Michael Italese. On that day, having completed his postulate and noviciate, he made his profession and received the habit of a Cistercian monk in Rome at the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem to which their monastery is attached. Father Vincent Curtis, Parish Priest at St Dominic's, Michael's mother Lucia and I were invited to Rome by the prior for this joyful occasion. Twelve years ago there were five ageing monks and no vocations in view. So, instead of waiting for young men to come to him, the present prior, Don Simone went out to find them. The first was from Romania, now Father Carlos, ordained last October, the first ordination for fifty years in that community. Then came three from Mexico, Brother Moses to be ordained this August and Brother Leo next year. There are more "in the pipeline" from America, Italy, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Zambia and of course, Michael, now Brother Joseph Benedict, from Dursley. It takes eleven to twelve years to become a priest with the Cistercians but the community is thriving, eighteen last year when we visited and now twenty two or so and the average age is early thirties. Young men are encouraged to come and try out the life for as long as they like. While some leave, others, like Michael stay. Not all become priests, some remain lay brothers but all are full of joy and care for and help each other in this spiritual place. It is good to see Michael so happy. Since our return we have heard that the prior is to be made an abbot on the feast of The Triumph of the Cross ≠ 14 September. Another cause for celebration, and they seem to do a lot of that!
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