The Augustinian lay fraternity Pia Unione di Santa Rita of Lombardy celebrates its tenth anniversary
Ten years. Ten historic years of prayer and charity in the service of the sick
This is what the Pia Unione di Santa Rita fraternity of Abbiategrasso has accomplished over this past decade. This was more than enough reason for the Order, in the persons of the Prior General, Fr Alejandro Moral, and the General Councillor for Southern Europe, Fr Javier Pérez Barba, to join the celebration organised in the church of the hospital in the Italian town where it has its headquarters, some 25 km from Milan.
The main event was a Mass of thanksgiving, presided over by the Prior General and concelebrated by the Assistant General, along with Fr Milan Hermanovsky from our community in nearby Pavia.
Before the Eucharist, those present entrusted themselves to St. Rita, and asked for her intercession for the Order, for families, for those who suffer, for peace, for reconciliation, and for those who dedicate themselves to God and their brothers and sisters.
St Rita: "A sure guide for our family relationships"
On the day on which the Gospel of the Prodigal Son was proclaimed, Father General highlighted before the many faithful gathered there the figure of Saint Rita as "a merciful woman, an example of forgiveness and a builder of peace … she is a powerful intercessor and a sure guide for our family and daily relationships", Father Alejandro emphasised during his homily.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Prior of the Fraternity, Francesco Roccio, gave a rose to the founding members of the Pia Unione and to its associates gathered there; he also thanked the civil authorities, represented by Roberto Albetti, councillor of the municipality of Abbiategrasso, the hospital staff, in the person of Dr. Simonetta Stefanoni, district director, and Fr Alejandro and Fr Javier for having wanted to be part of this special anniversary, which concluded with the presentation of two plaques to Sonia Vignati - one of the first members of the fraternity - and to Maurizio Gadolini, vice-prior of the fraternity. All these gestures were a sign of the deep gratitude for the daily service and prayer that they have been carrying out for a decade in the hospital.
Father General then took a moment to chat with some of those present, happily engaging with them and their tales, and thanking each one for the great work of prayer and charity that the Pia Unione carries out. And - not least - promising to visit them again in the future.
After the liturgical celebration concluded, there was a chance to share lunch with the community of members of the fraternity. It was an agreeable opportunity to look back over the past ten years in the life and activities of the Pia Unione.
We at the General Curia hope for many more years to come!