Homily for the Mass at the Start of the Xaverian Novitiate

Fr. Emanuele Borelli, SX

Superior Delegate

June 18, 2018

On this day it cannot be said we do not know what to say to capture the spirit of this moment the carpe diem of our celebration. In truth, the Eucharist would suffice to feel and manifest our gratitude to God for his love for us and the world. The word of the God would more than enough. The Bread of Life from this banquet is just what we need.

However here, at the table of the Lord in remembrance of what He did for us, how he loved us, in remembrance of his passion and glorious resurrection, we wish as a family of disciples, to tell each other how this love of God has been received.

On this regard, we are indeed blessed since in this holy celebration with us are three young men, children of this magnificent and real pearl of the East, land of passion and piety, solidarity and sacrifice. Today in the presence of the Community, three young Filipino men are knocking at the door of our Missionary Family for a very special journey after a time of preparation.

When I am on my vacation in Italy I regularly go to Parma from our town beyond the river Po. I go through a country road that borders the land of our beloved Father, Saint Guido Maria Conforti. I admire the beautiful countryside being constantly shaped by expert farmers for the production of food for dairy cows from whose milk Parmesan cheese will be served all around the world. Surely little Guido used to play in those fields, place of peace and hard work. I gaze on the little chapel where he was baptized, after a short trip from one of the sparse farmhouses of the countryside of Ravadese in which he was born. In that rural place, a stone’s throw away from the noble and “aristocratic” City of Parma, Guido on the knees of his mother Antonia, learned the faith.

Guido neither followed the ambition of his Father Rinaldo to expand the barns and posses more land, nor the desire common to many to become one day “somebody”.

He confided, when already a bishop, that at the origin of his priestly vocation there had been an encounter with the Lord, in a secret dialogue between him, little schoolboy, and a crucifix which set his heart on fire, in the daily walking by the chapel and pausing for while before a crucifix. This encounter is still happening everywhere. Children on their way to and back from school are walking by our chapels they pause, do the sign of the Cross to greet the Lord and Mary with reverence and true devotion.

Guido’s answer to God’s special call developed his heart’s desire to follow the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier to fulfill his dream to bring the Good News to the East, to China.

This divine inspiration that crossed the mind and heart of Guido is also moving us from all around the world. Our international communities and especially now our young Filipino brothers bear witness, with their willingness to deepen their vocation in the Xaverian Life, that the inspiration of St. Guido is indeed worth pursuing.

The Novitiate is the appropriate time to develop a new level of knowledge, awareness, and commitment around religious life in general and our charism in particular. It is a time of grace in which all of us are involved since, even for those Xaverian being in religious vows for some time, the presence of the Novitiate is a true appeal and an opportunity to renew our fidelity to the Xaverian Charism and religious consecration.

And for you Novices let this powerful experience come as a unique time to deepen your love in a discipleship which allows you to become brothers among brothers in the Xaverian Family. From now on you are already welcome among us as special brothers, enjoying the favor and blessings of belonging to our Congregation.

Dear “Dhon”, dear Ronnie, dear Romeo, today you are knocking at our door. Thank you for being with us. We are glad to let you in. We will do our best that this time will be well spent. We honor and pray for your families and whoever has been good to you and instrumental to bring you here.

To you dear Novice Master Fr. Luigino, our gratitude and esteem coupled with our prayer and collaboration that you may become a true vessel of God’s Grace for our young brothers entrusted to your care. We are asking St. Guido to pray and intercede for you.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church intercede for us. Amen.

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