Magic is the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand or trick props. I have learned one or two tricks so that when I visit the children in our programs in Italy, India or Ethiopia I can communicate with them despite the language barrier. One of my favorite routines is the mysterious disappearance of a red tissue.
The 40 boys in our “town” at St. Savio’s Home in Pavaraity, India, need not check the weather forecast before they go to school. They know that every day at 7 AM there will be heavy showers.
So, they put on their swimming suits, go to a gathering point outside, and wait for the rain with a soap and a bath sponge in their hands. The water does not come from heavy clouds in the sky, but from an ingenious system created by the program directors who take care of them. They could not afford to build 40 showers so they created a fun way to get all the kids washed in time for school.
“I have a confession to make,” I told the almost 400 seminarians at St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, during one of my trips to India a few years ago. They looked at me, baffled. Had I had sinned so gravely that I needed an absolution from 400 future priests?
I confessed that when I was very young, I was a seminarian, too. But I left after one day! You see, my pastor talked me into entering the seminary with promises of a beautiful soccer field. I soon found out being a priest requires more than that.
Of my four children, Chiara, who is now six, is the troublemaker. Despite her innocent look, she is constantly setting fires.
On the first day of school, her teacher Miss D. asked her, “What does your father do for a living?”
Without hesitation, Chiara replied, “My father takes money from the rich and gives it to the poor. He is a like Robin Hood… He usually goes to rich people’s homes at night… he brings his people with him to do the job…”
Not too long ago, my four-year-old daughter Arianna was struggling with a simple math problem in pre-kindergarten.
To help her with the concept of addition, I formulated the problem in a different way and asked her, “If you hold three apples on one hand and four apples on the other hand, how many apples do you hold in total?”
Without hesitation, she replied, “Two!”
I don’t watch much television. As a matter of fact, I only watch the Italian news channel when I go home after work, if my children have not already started watching a cartoon and hidden the remote control somewhere in the backyard so I cannot change the channel.
Do you know who Michelangelo was?
I am sure your first thought will go to the famous artist of the Italian Renaissance born in 1475, much-admired for the "David" and "Pietà" statues and the ceiling paintings of Rome's Sistine Chapel. But the Michelangelo I am referring to is somehow even more important … at least for us.
Did it ever happen to you? It’s one of the most socially unpleasant situations that could occur. Someone approaches you warmly; addresses you by your first name; mentions details or situations of your personal life not many know … yet you have no idea who is in front of you.
I love travelling as much as I hate packing. Before a trip, I usually stare at my empty luggage hoping that it would suggest to me what I should put inside. Unfortunately, that never happens. The luggage never talks to me and lays open on the floor like a voracious mouth ready to be fed. I have no choice other than going through tedious check lists … toothpaste … check!
Happy New Year! If you are like me and many others, during this time you may be compiling a list of resolutions for the new year. By the way, have you ever wondered how this tradition started?