Archbishop Giacomo Morandi has been the new bishop of the Diocese of Reggio Emilia – Guastalla for three months and on 19 June 2022 he made a visit to Castelnovo ne ‘Monti to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
Many flocked to participate in the Holy Mass at 10:30 which the Archbishop presided over in the courtyard of the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta. We then had the opportunity to interview him during a convivial reception in the Oratory.
Here is the text of the interview in which we asked him about the future of the Diocese and its relationship with the mountains.
You have traveled extensively in Italy during your ecclesiastical career: how do you feel now to be back in a place close to home after all? Is he still fond of his native land?
I have been a priest for more than thirty years: it is an intense ministry with various commitments that have also led me to be far from my Diocese and the land to which I have always been attached.
I keep a very strong rootedness, so I am happy and grateful to the Lord for being back in Emilia.
Between 2002 and 2003 the Ecclesial Convention was held right here in the mountains. Do you think it was helpful? Do you already have something planned for the mountains?
There have been many changes since the Conference was held, but we will keep on the path that was traced on that occasion as it is an excellent basis. The first year in a new Diocese serves above all as a period of observation and listening to the community: when I have a good understanding of the situation and better know our territory and its needs, we will begin to work more concretely.
Young people are important for the Church. What can they do in their own small way, perhaps in the Parish or Oratory, for this institution?
Young people can do something that may seem obvious but it is an important foundation: to ensure their presence. As in the parable of the mustard seed, which is planted in the ground and ferments to become the largest of the garden plants, they too can begin to do great things in life.
In the mountains there are numerous important infrastructures such as the oratories, characteristic of the villages, and the Seminary of Marola. How can they be best exploited and used?
The Marola Seminary is already operational and I hope it can intensify its role as a center of spirituality and hospitality. The parish oratories welcome many initiatives and projects that make it possible to keep the faith alive even in those places further away from an inhabited center. They testify to the will of the people of God who live in the smallest countries to meet God and announce his Kingdom in the places of their daily life.
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