Fathers and sons
Posted by Paolo Sottopietra on 16 July 2009 ·
Since my very first years studying Philosophy at the Catholic University in Milan, it was clear to me that I wanted to serve the movement of Communion and Liberation.
But how could I accomplish this goal? I spent the last year of my university studies in the United States at Notre Dame University in Indiana in order to complete my thesis. There I met and got to know both the Memores Domini and the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo. My first contact with the Fraternity was Fr. Michael Carvill. I was completely taken in by his way of being a priest, his passion for the movement, and his availability to contribute to its growth. I wanted to be like him and serve the Church by being a missionary. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a priest. My return to Milan was characterized by two priorities. The first was to serve the Church together with companions that would be for me a source of daily support in living out my vocation—I wanted to live in a house. The second was that mission had to define my lifestyle in all of its particularities. Some time later, I discovered that there was indeed an answer to my prayer: the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo.
From my first days in seminary, I always asked myself what the Fraternity meant to me. I was completely taken in by what Fr. Massimo always says but I didn’t really understand: “The Fraternity is an initiative of mercy in my life.” Today, I can say that the Fraternity is the method that God has chosen in order to heal me. He has always chosen the youngest and the most fragile and entrusted them with tasks that greatly exceed their capabilities.
I experienced this very thing in my life when Fr. Massimo called me to return to Rome from Germany, where I had been sent on mission, in order to assist him in guiding our brothers. How was it possible at 30 years of age to help people from whom I could only possibly hope to learn? This responsibility has been my salvation, because it has forced me to live first and foremost the experience of the Fraternity.
Today, more than ever, I have the certainty that my brothers are the sustenance that God gives me for my vocation—even those that are much younger than myself. St. Benedict was right: “Often the Lord reveals his will through the youngest among us.”