By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Thursday visited the central Italian town of Nomadelfia where he was moved by the warmth and family spirit of the community started there by Father Zeno Saltini in 1947.
Nomadelfia was the first of two-stop half-day Italian visit, that also took him to Loppiano associated with the Focolare Movement.
Nomadelfia is named after a Catholic community of families and lay unmarried people who adopt a lifestyle of brotherhood inspired by the first Christian community.
Model of first Christian Community
Meeting a delegation of the Nomadelfia Community, the Pope described them as a “prophetic reality that aims to bring about a new civilization, implementing the Gospel as a form of life that is good and beautiful.”
The Pope said, “The law of brotherhood, that characterizes your life, was the dream and goal of the whole existence of Fr. Zeno, who wanted a community of life inspired by the model outlined in the Acts of the Apostles.”
“The multitude of those who had become believers,” he said, “had one heart and one soul and no one considered what belonged to them his property, but everything was common among them".
The Pope thus urged the Nomadelfia Community to “continue this way of life, trusting in the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit,” through their “clear Christian witness.”
Pope Francis drew attention to the sensitivity of Fr. Zeno for suffering children, especially orphans, for whom the only language they understood was that of love.
The Pope said that Fr. Zeno was able to identify a particular form of society where there was no room for isolation or solitude, but where different families and members recognized one another as brothers in the faith, in a bond more solid than those of kinship, which the Holy Father described as “consanguinity with Jesus”.
Another aspect of the Nomadelfia Community that touched Pope Francis was the “loving attention towards they elderly” who even in bad health remain in the family are supported by the entire community.
The Pope thus encouraged the Community to continue “incarnating this model of fraternal love” carrying forward the spirit of Fr. Zeno.