I’ve described Gombereto’s special devotion to the Madonna several times before in my blog. The world turns and turns and the certainty of the seasons following each other is mirrored by the sequence of religious events which accompany them. For me the festa Della Madonna Addolorata di Gombereto reflects the end of the summer and the arrival of the autumnal solstice.
There was something particularly special about this year’s devotional procession.
First, the weather brightened up and not a drop of rain fell, unlike some previous occasions I know. The procession was thus able to wend its way around the village with absolute sanctuary.
Second, the Ukrainian Orthodox bishop from Milan was also at the Mass and after the procession placed his engolpion (a chain of office with a medallion in the centre worn by orthodox bishops) around the Virgin’s neck which we all felt was a most moving act and symbolised a kind of reconciliation in the great Christian schism between east and west which took place in 1054.
Don Franco stated that when so many Christians are suffering under war and terrorism, particularly in the Middle East, that it is a scandal that so many divisions should still exist between Christians.
This reminds me that in Assisi the international meeting for peace is taking place at this very moment where many other faiths are all present and praying together from Japanese Shintoism to Tibetan Buddhism to Indian Hinduism to Muslims desperate to re-establish the tenets of peace on which their faith was originally founded.
Gombereto’s special day was highlighted by a concert given by the excellent band from Marlia.
This was followed by a scrumptious tuck-in of biroldo and ham sandwiches with a mouth-watering array of cakes and plenty of soft and less soft drinks.
It’s so important for these village festivals to continue. Sadly, every year there seem to be less and less people participating in them despite the mammoth efforts of people like Claudio Geminiani and his devoted helpmates which include world-class organist Enrico Barsanti accompanying the choir and Candida who beautifully decorated the chapel with flowers.
Again I would refer you to my posts on previous processions for the ‘Madonna Addolorata’ (the Saddened Madonna) at:
A song that sums it all up: