What I Have Found
On the occasion of the anniversary mass for Fr. Giussani, Luke and the Gainesville Community desire to share what they've met
For the first time, this year our Gainesville CL Community celebrated the mass for the anniversary of Fr. Giussani’s death. The date fell on Tuesday, which is the Newman Dinner night at the University of Florida, when each week a meal is provided for students after mass to promote community. The meal is prepared and served by volunteers so we decided it was a perfect opportunity to volunteer ourselves to serve the meal, but we also wanted to do more.
In our preparation for this time together and thinking what we could do for the students during the dinner, I proposed to share with everyone one of the previous year’s New York Encounter exhibits on the life of Fr. Giussani. Looking at many of the beautiful ones that have been prepared over the years, we chose one prepared by a fraternity group in New York City about Giussani in America and added a final poster to the exhibit: “The Gainesville Chapter.”
I moved to Gainesville just last August in order to start graduate school and the Gainesville School of Community already had plans to have a mass for Giussani regardless of the exhibit. My desire to propose that we also share an exhibit with all the students at the Newman Dinner was rooted in two facts. The first was simply a reflection of gratitude on the memory of the friends I have encountered over the past four years since I met the Movement. The other was that I was motivated by the faces present within the Gainesville School of Community. It was surprising to me that this ‘familiarity’ could occur in a new place with new people. Both these factors led to the conclusion that what I have found is important enough to share.
One specific point that I found interesting within this experience of preparing for the exhibit was my own freedom. In the preparation process, I found it very difficult and unfulfilling to make even simple decisions alone. While I was totally free to make whatever decisions I wanted about what material we should use, I discovered that I only reached a certainty when discussing and sharing my ideas with others in the community. I do not fully understand the mystery behind this fact, but I am continually discovering how God is creating me in the present, and this discovery comes from sharing life with the people given to me.
In all of our preparations, I focused less on the outcome and more on sharing even a sliver of Giussani and Communion and Liberation with the university students because it was and is important in my own life. The response during the exhibit was surprising. First, it was surprising that anyone was interested, but more so, I am surprised by my own adherence to following this responsibility to Something and Someone I have met. Reflecting again on the experience now, I see how I have been given so much in meeting Communion and Liberation that the only method that makes sense to me is to respond by attempting to share a piece of that with everyone–including the campus ministry at UF.
Luke, Gainesville, FL