Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Pause in the Rescue: Confession and Communion.

            The Founder had been seventy hours without eating and resting, because of the rescue after the Calabrian-Sicilian earthquake. He stopped only to feed his soul by confession and communion at the archbishop's palace.

The young priest, a stranger, modest in his demeanor, properly dressed, dark of complexion and with sparkling eyes, was immediately noticed, partly because he seemed drained by tiredness.  No-one spoke to him, however, while in the big room confusion reigned.

He did not display any haste; his expression just seemed to implore a little friendliness.  Canon Vilardi made a sign for him to come near and then asked:
"And you, who are you?"
"I am Don Orione."
"Where do you come from? What do you want here?"
"Father, I wish to make my Confession. Please do me this charity." His wish was granted. Then he asked for Holy Communion and stopped in the chapel for around half an hour, while from time to time more earthquake tremors were noted.
"So, may we know where you come from?"
"I come from Piedmont, Tortona to be precise."
 "To help out with the survivors?"
"Yes, with the help of the Lord."
"Where were you before arriving in Reggio?" Don Orione told him about his short stop at Roccella Ionica. He ended up saying that he had not eaten for over seventy hours; he was overcome by indescribable tiredness and a general dizziness. He was given some food and taken to rest on a mattress belonging to a seminarian”. [1]

[1] D. Sparpaglione, Il Beato Luigi Orione7, Roma, Ed. Paoline, 1980. [Unpublished translation].

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