Yesterday, 1st November 2019, the African Catholic Community in Verona once again celebrated its annual gathering of the wedded couples in the community. It’s for five years now, that the community has been meeting once every year to celebrate, not just the sacred union of two people to form a family, but for the continuous tolerance of one another and therefore shining as good examples of Christian marriages. This is even more powerful as it concerns African migrants in Europe, people who are thousands of kilometers away from their homelands, in search of better future. This is another good thing about the community, learning to celebrate the nucleus of the society, the marriage and therefore the homes.
(All pictures courtesy of Shalom Pix Verona)
If you really think about it, then the follow quote from Barbara De Angelis, an American relationship consultant, lecturer and author will make some sense to you:
“The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.”
You really want to think about that, whether as a couple or as an individual who is interested in any deeper human relationship. Yes, real and true relationship can only work when you learn to tolerate, forgive and find the meaning beyond just the immediate. This is the undeniable quality I saw on the faces of different couples yesterday at the Comboni missionary centre, Verona, the venue of the event – of the people who talked at length about their marriage life for over 10, 15 and 20 years. Not because they are perfect nor are there really anyone out there who is, but that they have accepted their partners despite the shortcomings and they have now become stronger together over the years.
I need to emphases that the above is not just a given and I want you to get that. What I’m here talking to you about is a powerful human quality, of both the new and old members of the community, and it has been very helpful in pulling the community together.
To make more sense out of it, I asked the community leader, Fr. Cornelius Ekwebelem about the origin and central idea behind the yearly gathering and he responded, as followed:
“The idea of gathering wedded Couples together started about 5 years ago after officiating in numerous weddings in San Giacomo African Catholic Community. I felt it was right to create time for the continuous education of young Catholic couples. First, I started with annual meeting of couples below 5 years of Marriage. Then last year I decided to extend the invitation to couples below 10 years of Marriage.
Interestingly, after last year’s event, the members of Catholic Men Organization requested that the invitation be left open for all married couples in the community. Their request was accepted with joy which resulted in this year’s gathering.” -Fr. Cornelius.
Now that you have known the origin of this important event in the life of African community in Verona, how about the event itself; how was it actually organised?
I will make it as simple as possible, so you can have a feel of it:
The event which attracted different people in the community started early in the morning with holy mass, followed by a group photograph in front of the chapel where the mass took place.
Other events quickly followed, building up to the cutting of the cake by the couples, a sort of remembrance of their individual wedding cake. Did I mention that there was also singing during the cutting of the cake? I bet you can imagine that. A short video of the previous year was screened to the interested audience, followed by the most exciting part of the entire event, the testimonies of the couples, on how they have been enjoying their marriage adventure over the years.
If you must miss any part of the program, it certainly won’t be this part (the testimonies) because it was too interesting and rich with valuable information, especially for newer couples. That was followed with refreshment, with a lot of rice, boiled yam, beans and other African delicacies that can keep your mouth wet for a long time. After that was the couple’s dance, where all the husbands and wives finally took to the floor and shook their bodies, and it turned out to be a little sexier than expected.
If you are like me, you would want that excitement to continue. Well, it eventually came to an with some gifts which were offered to the couples by the officiating priest, Fr. Cornelius Ekwebelem.
Now I have a question for you.
What do you think the community can benefit from an event such as this? Leave your comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, so you can be regularly updated and get good news like this directly to your inbox.
Obehi Ewanfoh – Writer and online instructor to help migrants improve themselves.