• A TRUE SCHOOL OF LIFE •
Comunita Cenacolo America is not a therapeutic program; rather, it is a “School of Life.”
The Community offers an authentic and concrete proposal of life based on Jesus Christ. We lead a simple, family life based on prayer, friendship, sacrifice, and work. For those of us who had enough materially but fell into an inner darkness, often accompanied by alcohol or drug abuse, this simple proposal of life is deeply valued because it is genuine, true, and of God. Everyone in desperation is thirsting for love — true, authentic love — and this comes, not from man, but from God. This “School of Life” invites us into freedom born of sacrifice, friendship based on truth, and joy rooted in the Cross.
The Holy Eucharist is the heart of Comunità Cenacolo, which is committed to faith in the Word of God made flesh in Jesus Christ, who died and rose for our salvation. We entrust ourselves to Mary, Mother of God, whom we know as our own mother, always protecting us and guiding us deeper into the heart of her Son Jesus.
Ours is a very active community with a precise daily rhythm. Every morning we begin the day by thanking the Father for His gift of new life. Through reading the scriptures and praying the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament, we join as a family in offering ourselves and the entire day to Jesus, asking Him to heal us and to empower us with His Holy Spirit. We ask Him to show us the masks and lies that have ruled our lives and to replace these with His light and truth.
• THE DISCOVERY OF WORK AS A GIFT •
The reality of work, which occupies a good part of the day in Community, is fundamental for rebuilding our interior life. As you work, you rebuild who you are, your will power, and your responsibility. You regain trust in yourself and see that you are capable of sacrifice, commitment, and consistency. You discover that you are enriched, not so much by what you do, but by how you do it. Work in the Community is not just an end in itself, but something greater. It is not for nourishing our pride or ambitions, not for earning money, not a false anchor of salvation, or a place to run away during times of difficulty. Instead, it is an instrument for rebirth, for starting a new life, for building dialogue, for growth in humility, for discovering and using your gifts, and for tasting the joy of building by sacrificing ourselves together. Work is the concrete measure of the truth of your prayer, which manifests itself through service.
• FRIENDSHIP •
When you arrive at the doors of the Community, the biggest wound that you carry in your heart is not drugs, but the solitude that you have inside, the sadness of not being yourself, and the fear of not being loved. The first concrete experience you have when you enter is friendship. Someone who was desperate like you welcomes you without self-interest, and you see in his eyes that there is life inside him. The guys at the house where you enter stay close to you. They make you see that your life, and the decision you made to let it come alive, are gifts for them. It is the strength of friendship that supports you in overcoming tough moments at the beginning. The ones that are by your side, that speak to you, that explain things, that listen, and that smile at you help you to be strong and persevere. Then you realize that you must become a friend to yourself and that you don’t know who you are in goodness in this new life. In the light of brotherly friendship and, most of all, in the light of the prayer that helps you to become Jesus’ friend, you rediscover yourself as someone who is capable of doing good, of forgiveness, of silence, and of suffering without trying to escape from it any more. You learn to accept the interior poverty of your brothers, but you also recognize and acknowledge their gifts. You do not stop in the face of difficulty or pride, but you choose to suffer in order to love concretely, to rejoice together, without jealousy, thanking God for the gift of life. It is through the love of those who are by your side, close to you, that you discover the greatness of God’s Love for you and your dignity as a child of God. Truly in Community you discover that having a true friend and being a true friend is to possess an inexhaustible treasure of peace, strength, forgiveness, life, and joy in your heart.
• DEPENDENCE ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD •
Comunità Cenacolo depends and lives totally on the Providence of God, which sustains us through the gifts and contributions of those who desire to help in this work of God’s healing. We learn to live in gratitude, realizing that our joy does not depend on what we have or what we lack. We know and trust that the Father, who is rich in mercy, will give us all that we need. We receive no government funds, nor do we ask payment of anyone living in Community.
• PRAYER •
The Community has great courage to propose to us youth, who are desperate, alone, and estranged from God and the Church, a journey in Christian faith from the first day that we enter. The most life-giving intuition of Mother Elvira’s was embracing the truth that man, every man, above all those who are wounded, need God, and the rebuilding of his life is true and complete only if it addresses man in his totality, thus taking into consideration the needs of the body and the spirit.
A drug addict is “sick in search of the absolute,” a person who desires to encounter the truth, who searches for something or actually, someone who is capable of attracting and orienting his existence and of responding to his questions about the meaning of life. This is why from the moment we enter Community we are freely offered not only our “daily bread” of food that revives our physical strength, our “daily bread” of work and friendship, but also the “daily bread” of prayer, which is nourishment for our soul, for our thirsty heart, and above all is the means for discovering the presence of God the Father in our lives. Only He can fully rebuild our wounded and broken hearts; only He is stronger than the evil of drugs; only He satiates the profound search for meaning that led us into the abyss of the dead end streets of the world.
Our day in the Community starts with the prayer of the Holy Rosary; our first moment is for God. Then we pray before beginning every kind of work or responsibility so that the day may go well. It is important that we be filled with the Holy Spirit and that we take Mary by the hand so that she can guide our day. The reading of the day from the Word of God, which we young men and women take turns preparing, is shared together. It is the light for facing life through God’s eyes and the road to our true freedom. We experience the miraculous gift of the presence of the Eucharist. Each house has a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament. It is the place of rebirth and profound healing. Usually each house has the gift of the Holy Mass, which is the greatest prayer, three times a week. The first great miracle that prayer produces in our Community houses is that of the truth, which generates peace and sincere friendships. Otherwise it would not be possible for so many people of different nationalities and cultures, with deep, problematic experiences in our lives, to live in peace and harmony. Thanks to our encounter with God, our lives become a testimony of resurrection and service for one another.