Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all of the Monterosso family, near and far!

The word most cited at the Christmas Eve dinner this year in Monterosso was ‘fortunati’ - fortunate. 
Look how fortunate we are to be able to spend this evening together!
We are so fortunate to have such great cooks in the kitchen preparing our food!
Everyone in the cities is in the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping while we are fortunate to be able to not have to worry about those things this year.  
 As the priest stated, this flood has also brought Monterosso a flood of love.

More than 200 people gathered under the ANPAS nylon tent to share the Christmas Eve dinner together. Though the plates, cups and cutlery were all made from plastic and the napkins and tablecloth were paper, the multi-course meal, complete with wine, was delicious and the atmosphere was warm. 
After the meal, even more residents showed up for the mass led by the town priest and local Franciscan monk, Padre Renato. After midnight, a bingo with prizes was held.
The past two months in Monterosso have been a whirlwind of emotion for its residents. Sorrow and loss, disappointment and fear have left not a person in town in peace. However, the satisfaction, appreciation and joy have been so intense that the smiles have overcome the tears and hope has remained strong.

Monterosso has realized that it has created a family that continues to grow. Monterosso is no longer only made up of those who were born there- there are the volunteers who have sacrificed their time and energy to clean Monterosso up as quickly as possible, the rugby players in central Italy who have held charity games and the school children from northern Italy who have given their snack money to help the children of Monterosso. There are the people from Malawi,despite having their own serious problems, who are raising money for Monterosso and the community in Belgium which is gathering personalized gifts for the residents. There are all of the concerned people from the international community who are sending messages of love and whatever money they have to help reconstruct the village. Many of these people have never seen Monterosso, many only dream of coming here and yet, they care.

Over past two months, all of you have become part of the family that makes up Monterosso. 

Merry Christmas - Buon Natale to the entire Monterossino family, far and near. 

The mayor of Monterosso and Padre Renato

Decorations on the tables at the Christmas Eve dinner

The Christmas Eve menu'

Cheering the cooks!

Presents arrive for the little ones.

A bag full of treats

Midnight mass

Muddy shoes and the piazza floor under the tent.

Monterosso was given a perfect day for Christmas.

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