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Summer Oratory - Parish of San Giovanni Apostolo - Barletta

At the parish of San Giovanni Apostolo in Barletta, the summer oratory was held from June 27 to July 16, the theme of which was "What planet are you from?". It was oriented to the reflection aroused by the most significant passages of the book The Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, proposed for Grest 2022 by ANSPI (Oratory Association).

The initiative involved about 220 members of different age groups, starting from four up to 13 years and involved, as animators, 56 young people, including boys and girls, and 20 adults.

The activities of the oratory, carried out in the afternoon from 5 to 8 pm, were also carried out through the following workshops: Sport, Dance, Art Attak and Mani in pasta.

The organization, surveillance, animation, monitoring and verification involved the parish priest, Don Rino Mastrodomenico, the assistant pastor, Don Pietro D'Alba, and Sister Maddalena Longobardi, of the congregation Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd, congregation permanently present in the parish since 2006 and daily committed in various ways to offer its service for the growth of the parish community under the pastoral profile, also dedicated to catechesis, to raising awareness for works of charity, as well as to weaving relationships aimed at welcoming and integrating parishioners, paying special attention to children and young people. The sympathy aroused by the animators and the involvement of which they were capable caused considerable enthusiasm in the participants, so much so that during the first week further registrations continued to be acquired. Despite the high temperatures, the turnout was always constant and the desire of the members to participate in the proposed activities was perceived.

The experience also involved many adult parishioners who were particularly involved in the Sport and Mani in Pasta workshops. Also important was the support of some mothers of the children enrolled in the oratory, who very generously offered their availability in the reception and security services, as well as in the preparation of the snack. The oratory also provided an opportunity to impart food education ideas in the wake of the gastronomic traditions of the area: the preparation and subsequent tasting of pancakes and orecchiette with tomato have been very successful.

The final day took place involving the parish community, to which the young educators presented the dramatization of passages taken from the book "The little prince" and the presentation of the educational path carried out through photographs taken in the previous days. Subsequently we all met outside the church to carry out the workshop activities, extending to parents the invitation to support their children, an occasion that also saw the participation of some grandmothers and in which Sister Gabriella, was able pay attention and talk to some parents. The evening continued with dances led by the animators of the dance workshop and with a great moment of conviviality that favored the mutual understanding of the families and gave them the opportunity to spend time with joy and lightheartedness. The evening was sealed with the cutting of a wonderful cake.

As far as the educational dimension is concerned, the experience of the oratory proved to be very significant: getting to know each other, respecting each other, being together, comparing each other, helping each other, collaborating, listening and sharing were the cornerstones of the project that every day has garnered wide consensus, so much from the participants as well as from their parents, and it has taken on more and more the connotations of a great celebration of the parish. She, capable of attention and great involvement, did not hesitate to deploy her energies and offer her resources in order to consolidate the face of a large family made up of people of all ages and of different personal, social and cultural conditions. , we can truly say, a house among the houses in the neighborhood, a family among families! The little prince considered the essential invisible to the eye.

The experience of the summer oratory made it possible to live moments of serenity, joy, peace, brotherhood and solidarity, recognizing in all this the Lord, who, although invisible, is the essential, and permeates every family and the whole community with his inspiration. . Special thanks should therefore be addressed to the animators and above all to Fr Rino, Fr Pietro and the Pastorelle Sisters. Worthy of note is the work of the latter, who with their eyes constantly turned to the parish community intercept its needs and satisfy them with concern. Their discreet and industrious presence, characterized by the traits and sensitivity of maternal love, is of such importance as to constitute a strength of the community. Without their faces it would no longer be the same because it would lose a significant aspect of its connotation, in which every single parishioner has always recognized himself. Their silent work is sometimes invisible, but fundamental, and is well summarized by the little prince's affirmation: "One sees well only with the heart, the essential is invisible to the eye".

The positive outcome of the summer oratory that has just ended in the parish of St. John the Apostle is one of the demonstrations of the validity of the thought of Blessed Don Giacomo Alberione to support priests with a religious congregation in charge of multiple forms of service aimed at building Christian communities. Priests and consecrated women, in their complementarity, profitably contribute to outline the face of the Church and guide her journey, representing, each in her specificity, solid points of reference for everyone.

Antonella Dargenio

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