My nameis Mariagrazia, Mariagrazia Stocchi.

We come from an Italian Catholic Parish and it’s the second time that our delegacy takes part to International Kirkedage Meeting.

I wish to represent you in which way our Parish is settled, because it is somehow connected to our presence here today.

We live in the center of Italy, Eastern side, in the region called Marche, Pesaro district, our municipality is Tavullia, the city where Valentino Rossi, motorbike champion, is from.

We represent four little hamlets, with three thousands and seven hundreds inhabitants; we have three churches and our Parish is organized in two units, under the guidance of one priest, Don Michele Simoncelli, who wants me to give you his fraternal greetings.

PriestSebastiano collaborates with Don Michele since two years and today he is here with us.

These distinctive features of our hamlets, each with his own traditions, supported a quicker integration between people of our little communities.

In the past thirty years, three priests have been succeeding in the direction of our Parishes and luckily, they always pursued the target to realize one Pastoral unit by our two little Parishes, respecting the peculiar characteristics of each village, but engaging to build a sole community.

By this collaboration and this spirit of unity, as created in our Parishes, it has been possible for us to start many initiatives and for us, one of the most important activities is the twelve years twinning with Aarhus’ Fredenskirken,in a path of unity that today brings all of us here to you.

Every activity in our Parishes is followed and cared by volunteers, that look after elderly people, give support to families in need, keep the churches, help the priest in the liturgy, liven the chorus, organize parish feasts.

We are, as volunteers, mostly involved about children Catechism and other youth entertainments, because we are aware and conscious in the importance of the careful commitment with and for future generations.

Catechesis goes on forsix years, with children from six to twelve years old: during this period, we follow them one hour each week, along eight months (October to May).

Each catechist looks after a group of several boys and girls, who get – in different periods – three Catholic Sacraments: Reconciliation, Holy Communion/Eucharist and Confirmation.

In Summer season, we organize some field-schools for children and youngsters on vacation, but even during the whole year they can take part, all together, in parties and games.

We ask for families collaboration, because we believe in their crucial role for children Faith rising.

Two years ago, in one of his pastoral visits to our Parishes, our Bishopstrongly supported the significance of Catholic education for the family: all of our catechists pick up his invitation and try to involve families in planning and setting up our activities.

We are firmly convinced that family support is basic to growth youth in the Christian faith and that it is vital, for Church and civil community both.

The seventh World Meeting of Catholic families, scheduled last week in Miland, was based on this matter, indeed.

After this six years path, young people can still meet together in our Parish organization, to keep on their journey of Faith.Our Priest is truly concerned towards the youth and in two thousand four (some years ago) he promoted an Unity experience between our young.

This project lead them to live together along one month, in the same house of our hamlet called Belvedere (in Italian, it means Beautiful Landscape!).

This staying applies to forty youngsters from sixteen to twenty-six years old; they can live together and share daily life appointments, guided by Jesus words.

By fine return of this experience, as like the World Youth Day participation too, where young Catholics meet worldwide, our present delegacy is also composed by three boys (Matteo, Lorenzo and Gianluca), who desire to collaborate for youth unity from different Christian denominations.

As a matter of fact, they attend to the organizing for European ecumenical meeting, to be held this year again in the youth-center “Pope John Paul the second”, in Montorso of Loreto.

This center is foremost intended as a space of spirituality for the youth, according to the charisma of Loreto Holy House.

Moreover, the center should become a meeting and exchanging place for various expressions of young Crozier, a permanent observatory about new generation education proposals, advanced by the Church.

These young people are a great hope for all of us!

There is a further feature, which is favoured very much by our Bishop and we quite comply with it: it is the layman education.

In our Dioceses, it has been opened the UpperCollege for religious studies, which aims to stimulate the deepening of the Faith in civilians and to enhance their inner reason of the Hope, facing the world and its heavy and intricate troubles.

This year, for the very first time, layman – attending this college – asked for Ecumenism theme to be matter of study.

This is surely a sign about growing sense in our parishes towards ecumenical dialogue.

By the twinning with Aarhus’ Fredenskirken, started twelve years ago, we have learned, as Parish, but most of all, individually as single person:

  • to love each other, like Jesus teached us;
  • to disclose the richness that the Holy Spirit releases over our different Churces;
  • the respect for diversity;
  • to leverage upon joining thing, growing together in the Faith;
  • to make charity plans together;
  • to compare constructively all the activities that all our Churches bring on.

The greatest gift that our parish communities hope is that the Word Lived give meaning to our life and faith, the Word of God affects the life of societies.
Are important objectives, great, but as a small parish like ours was possible to create the first twinning in the world between a Catholic and a Lutheran church, we believe that the Holy Spirit is not impossible either!

Mariagrazia Stocchi.

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