Towards the World Meeting of Families: Trust in Providence
By Vatican News
Five children, a mother, and a father. A house that no longer exists and the need to start again almost from scratch.
This is the story of Gianluca, Caterina, and their three children who, just a few days before Christmas 2021, saw their home devoured by fire.
It was almost dinner time when the children screamed: “Daddy, Daddy!”; thick smoke was filling the apartment. “The flames were already so high,” Gianluca recalls.
His reaction was immediate: “I thought about getting the children to safety; that would be enough; I didn’t care about the rest.”
In a few minutes they were all on the street, with no shoes or sweatshirts, “and it was raining that day, too.”
Rebirth from nothing
The family’s journey of rebirth began on that street. They had nothing left.
“When the firefighters told me that nothing had been saved from the house, I felt a bit lost,” says Caterina.
They spent the first few nights in the home of relatives, then in the Claretian Sisters’ convent, in their own neighbourhood, until they found an apartment for rent.
They took to social media and WhatsApp to request assistance.
Soon they were overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people, even complete strangers, who took their story to heart. Packages with clothing arrived as well as substantial financial assistance: “We hardly had to buy anything.”
“The house is gone, but much more has arrived; I am a craftsman,” says Gianluca. “I have not worked for five months, but I have more time to spend with the children. What I can do as a father is to educate them; they will do what they want. At some point, they will take their own path; I hope with history that we have filled with examples. This whole experience,” Gianluca concludes, “has made me think a lot about my role as a father and at the same time as a child of God, because I have been cared for and protected by a great God, a great Father.”