Experiences from the Guys
Growing up around hurricanes; I’ve gotten used to them. Still, leaving Florida, Mary Immaculate, and my chapel behind was difficult. What started out as an inconvenience, turned into a huge blessing! I was greeted like family by my brothers at Our Lady of Joyful Hope and I was shown every hospitality. The opportunity to walk seven miles to the Shrine, participate in 24 hour perpetual adoration, and to be amongst all of Community America was one of the best experiences of my walk. What started as an Exodus became a homecoming.
It was a memorable experience to have all of our brothers and sisters from Florida come to Alabama for the hurricane evacuation. It was a special to be able to spend some quality time with all the brothers together. Making the journey all the way to the Shrine while praying the rosary with everyone was very touching for me. Overall, I felt that it was a joyful time and it brought everyone closer together.
I really enjoyed seeing my brothers from Florida. This period has shown me how far I’ve come with being around big groups of people. I have also heard stories of past fraternities walking to the Shrine. I was grateful to have been a part of it and finally do it myself.
I felt so blessed when all the houses got together for the hurricane. I felt the Holy Spirit during the times of song and perpetual adoration, Holy Mass, and conversations with my brothers. I also enjoyed singing and praying with all three houses to the Shrine. Offering up my struggles and prayers as a group to those effected by the hurricane was beautiful. I saw the hurricane as an opportunity to help those through prayer and talk to those I don’t usually get to spend much time with. I thank God and Community Cenacolo for this unexpected but memorable experience.
This was my first experience dealing with a hurricane and having to make plans because of it. I am from Minnesota, so this is unheard of. All in all I enjoyed having our brothers and sisters from Florida here in Alabama. To host them was a gift. I myself lack in service to others so I saw this as God’s gift to help me to put into practice what these ten months in Community Cenacolo have built in me. Having the brothers living in the house brought even more life to our home in Alabama. I marveled in the way the brothers that had commitments did not just hide in the shadows but offered to share commitments such as Word of Life and even Leading Prayer. I most especially appreciated the pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. We are only fifteen minutes away, but walking with all 55 or so brothers in solidarity, singing songs to the Blessed Virgin, and praying for the victims and areas waiting to be hit by Hurricane Dorian was a powerful experience of perseverance and love manifested through prayer. I felt a sense of tiredness when we arrived, but also a sense of fulfillment and joy because I had emptied everything I had that day into this pilgrimage, and still found happiness that maybe for the few times in my life I gave myself for another person. Someone I will probably never meet, but the fact that I could offer this up was the biggest memorial in the week spent together during this hurricane.
Spending the week with the brothers from Florida during the hurricane was a very powerful time. We were brought together because of a tragedy, and many of us were brought to Community because our lives were a tragedy that affected everyone in our lives. I could really feel the power of prayer through the entire week. With the adorations we shared together and the intentions we shouted out were from a deep, special place in our hearts. Being in Community for six months, I’ve seen the power of prayer work on four separate occasions, something I’ve never witnessed before in my life. I strongly believe the Lord is behind all of these miracles. The pilgrimage we walked to the Shrine was beyond powerful. We all prayed rosaries and sang together on the way. I felt brotherhood along with guidance from the Holy Spirit. This will be a memorial day I will remember for the rest of my life.
Having our brothers come from Florida during the hurricane meant that I would need to open my heart up to old friends and to strangers—that is, “old” and “young” guys in Community. I didn’t have any way to deal with my nervousness except to smile and to do what the Community has taught me, which was to lend a hand to someone who’s uncomfortable, and try to ask forgiveness to some things that I’d done in the past and had time to reflect on. After we all prayed together over and over, it was interesting to see that afterward a few of the older guys of the Community began to stand up and say what they thought we could all do better in. It’s a family!
When all the Community America houses were together in Alabama for the hurricane, although there was worry about potential damage to Florida, it turned into a very profound week for me. It was a time of unity and prayer (two staples of the Community). During this time, I was able to catch up with the Florida brothers on how they were doing as well as how the houses were doing in general. Also during this week, we made a pilgrimage to the Shrine on foot. For me, I really felt close to the Lord, and truly felt the power of prayer as we walked seven miles praying continuous rosaries until we arrived, and finished with Mass. I really enjoyed the pilgrimage and felt unity with all three houses. This is something I would like to do again someday in my life.