Submitted by Irene Maria fcJ of the FCJ community in Torino, Italy
Don Roberto Repole was appointed as Archbishop of Turin in May 2022, to succeed Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia who had just retired. This nomination brought great joy to the Catholic community in Turin because he is young, well known and highly thought of. The FCJ Community in Turin was also delighted since he had been a student in the seminary near us. He had then worked as a parish priest and as a professor of theology at a local institute where some of our FCJ sisters had followed some courses.
On the first Sunday of September he was consecrated bishop in the presence of many bishops from the surrounding dioceses, priests, civil authorities and many lay people. It was a long celebration, rich in emotion and significance. It was held in the open air in the square outside the Cathedral. The sky was a bit cloudy and at a certain point it seemed to grow dark, and some wondered what would happen if the heavens opened! To everyone’s astonishment a little rain only came at the end of the celebration, which was interpreted as a blessing for the local church present at this very special ceremony.
This year Sr Maria Grazia fcJ celebrates her 60 years of religious life and Sr Irene Maria fcJ her 65 years. We desired to meet our new Bishop Roberto. On Sunday 5th February the occasion to do so was presented to us. All religious were invited by letter to attend a Mass on the Day for Consecrated Persons, and to give the names of any jubilarians in their community. We arrived at the cathedral when it was already full of religious and there were hardly any seats left. Luckily Irene Maria could find a place just on the first bench in front of the altar among all the other jubilarians. She could not have a better seat to follow and participate without distraction.
The concelebrated Mass was presided by our bishop and animated by the choir of the young people of SERMIG (Servizio Missionario Giovani), in the presence of many of the religious in the diocese: priests, sisters, brothers and other consecrated persons. The gathering gave us a sense of the quantity, unity and diversity of the religious presence in our diocese. The hymns chosen and the message of our bishop were inspired by the readings of the day: to be salt and light for the world.
We were invited to be light and salt for the people around us by the witness of our lives and the truth of the Gospel.
At the end of this beautiful celebration while singing the Magnificat, the bishop came to greet each of the jubilarians, offering a scented candle. At this moment Maria Grazia came near to where Irene Maria was sitting and so they could both present themselves to the bishop as blood sisters and as FCJ sisters. He showed his pleasure and recognition with a big smile of congratulations. It was a lovely moment.
To remember this occasion a photo (over) was taken with the group of jubilarians, and as you see, we were very near the bishop. The fact that the holy shroud of Turin is in that cathedral adds another layer of significance to the happy occasion.