Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pier Giorgio in Canada

How blessed I was last week to celebrate Thanksgiving and enter into the season of Advent with some of Pier Giorgio's good friends in Calgary, Alberta. Those of you who know more about Canada than me will know that Canadian Thanksgiving actually falls on the second Monday in October, so I had to celebrate Thanksgiving in spirit.

My reason for being in Calgary was to participate in the year-long "Frassati Project" sponsored by St. Bonaventure Parish. At the invitation of the pastor Rev. Wilbert Chin Jon and the Youth Ministry Coordinator Lucero Young, I spoke to the students at Don Bosco, St. Bonaventure, St. Philip and St. Boniface schools. I also had the opportunity to address the parishioners of St. Bonaventure Church on two separate occasions as a part of the Advent Mission and participate in a Youth Night event. It was a week of planting Pier Giorgio seeds!

At one school, a young girl asked me whether Pier Giorgio suffered when he died. I was and still am touched by the sensitivity of that child to think in those terms. Each day, we are surrounded by people who are suffering in the silence of their hearts. It is so easy to be preoccupied with our own struggles and become blind to those of others, even people who are most near and dear to us. Another young boy wanted to know what Pier Giorgio's favorite fruit was. In its own way, this question also struck me by its thoughtfulness. How much effort do we make to get to know the little things about the people around us that bring them joy?

I must confess that I knew next to nothing about our neighbors to the north (how is that for alliteration?!) until taking this trip. Shame on me! I returned to the U.S. with such a love for the Canadian people and country and with so much gratitude for the kindnesses of everyone I met. Pier Giorgio's spirit of charity is certainly alive and well in Alberta in the shadow of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. (Click here for a one-minute tour of Canada to the tune of their national anthem!)

Trips like that are always a humbling experience for me. Without exception, my travels place me in the presence of people living out holy and inspiring lives and I am challenged to reflect on how well -- or poorly -- I am responding to the Lord's call to holiness. My thanks to Fr. Wilbert, Lucy, Ross and Cris for being my guides "verso l'alto" in Calgary!

3 comments:

Cristino said...

It was our privilege and honour to have you with us, Chris! No hard feelings about my Calgary Flames crushing the Nashville Predators, OK?

Chris said...

Stai attento! Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators will be in Calgary to even the score the week of January 13th.

--un'abbraccio terroristico da Nashville

vatican sport said...

looking for piergiorgio contacts in vancouver to help set up pgf display at olympics...any help?