01-10-2008 - Traces, n. 9

Brazil  Salvador de Bahia

Beauty and the RESPONSE to Christ
Underlying the new church
there is also the Italian Abbondio family. Here is their story 

At the Mass, the Abbondio family were visibly moved. Theirs was a discreet presence, which did not expect tributes or accolades.  But they were happy to have made a contribution to such a great achievement.
Angelo Abbondio, in his testimony during Mass, spoke of his surprise and excitement at seeing the church completed and discovering how beautiful it was. Though he had followed all the stages of its construction, he and his family had found that the outcome far surpassed their expectations. Hence, the emotion he felt, which, he explained, arises naturally in every human being when he finds himself before something especially beautiful. For this reason, paradoxically, it was he who was grateful for the opportunity to have such an experience, given by the community. How did the Abbondio family come to be bound up with Novos Alagados? And why did they help build this church? Angelo said that when he met Fr. Giussani, he realized that only Christ could truly satisfy the yearning he felt.
Fifteen years ago, guided by Giussani, they had set out for Brazil to seek a work for the Movement to support. Especially struck by Novos Alagados, Abbondio began to help first the outpatient clinic and then the construction of the John Paul II Nursery School and AVSI’s other works in that zone. And since the Movement had taught them that the purpose of life is to make Christ known, they also began to support the construction of the church. They were particularly impressed by the name that it was to be given: Church of the Risen Christ. “It corresponded to what Fr. Giussani had always said of Christ: a presence here and now.” (F. B.)