by Helen Harrington
During my first few weeks in Rome, I was introduced to the Caravita Community. For the next nine and a half years, this Community was part of my weekly life, and itâ€™s members an extended family. The text below is the reflection that I shared with the Community on my last Sunday at Caravita, 16th April 2023.
â€œAs I sat here last week, Easter Sunday, I listened intently to what one of our wonderful presiders David Holdcroft SJ shared during his homily, as I knew that today, my last Sunday in Caravita I would have to share my own reflection on my last nine years with this wonderful Community and I needed inspiration!
One of the things that struck me as he spoke was the question he asked â€œWhen has Jesus been present with us, even against all the odds? In truth, like in life, my time here at Caravita has been filled with so many blessings, but also times of difficulty for our community. We have faced many challenges, particularly in the last five years, and many of which seemed to coincide with my time on the Pastoral Council. However, each time we faced one of those difficulties I, and I hope we as a community, have felt the presence of Jesus with us, supporting us, helping us to find a way forward, and to continue to be together, even at times on a screen, each Sunday to share in communion.
The theme of our most recent Caravita retreat, was “The Gaze of Love” and our facilitator Pauline Darby quoted another Jesuit, I think his name was Ignatius, who said “How is God our Lord looking at me, etc.” We talked about this etc. and how each of us knows God in different ways: through sound, touch, the beauty around us, the delicious food we eat or prepare etc., I feel that we here at Caravita experience the gaze of love each Sunday when we come together in unity, to celebrate mass together.
We are a community, and I prepared this reflection this week, I went straight to Google to search for a quote on community from Pope Francis: another wise Jesuit! The first hit on Google was this, the family is a community of love where each of us learns to relate to each other and to the world around us. To me, Caravita has been a family. A place where I could come each Sunday, to relate to the world around us, with wonderful homilies, and to relate to each other, during mass but also in our post mass glass of Prosecco. Ultimately though, we are a community of love, caring and supporting each other. And I have felt this deeply over the last nine years. Thank you especially to Bernie for introducing me to Caravita and to each of you for your friendship and fellowship. So it is with sadness that I have to say goodbye, for now, but I leave you, this wonderful community, with an Irish blessing:
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.