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Friday, April 13, 2012

Nostalgic Memories of Genfest'80 in Italy

Happy Easter Friday the 13th to everyone! Hope and pray you're doing well so far. TGIF! (Thanks to God It's Friday!) Wish you all the best this Friday the 13th! You guys aren't superstitious, are you? Me, either.

For the past days, I've just been chilling out (at home, almost all of the time), trying to do what I can and to stay positive and optimistic, despite my unpleasant physical condition. I have been watching a number of videos on YouTube (informational and educational, and inspirational as well, especially in relation to my Catholic faith, like the ones by wordonfire by Rev. Fr. Bob Barron). And as usual, I also watched my fave international soaps.

Yesterday, I have had the opportunity to "chat" with my relatives and a friend on Facebook, while listening to the Gen Rosso songs on YouTube. I'm thankful to God and to my FB friends that we made it happen. So glad I was to "hear" from them. On the other hand, I'm very thankful to the video uploaders and so glad I am that I was able to come across this international singing group of "focolarinos," Gen Rosso, that is based in Rome, Italy. Ecstatic I was to see and hear Marcy Bautista, one of the lead singers, who's from my native country, the Philippines, I couldn't help myself but did share the link to FB and made a comment about it. In my comment, I mentioned that we (a dozen "young" male people, or "gen" representing the Philippines in the Genfest'80 in Rome, Italy) had a good encounter with some of the members of Gen Rosso in their recording studio and that they even treated us (as a welcome gesture that moment of camaraderie) to the finest ice ream that Italy has to offer. We had fun and had a good time with Gen Rosso. I love their inspirational, melodious music.

Listening and watching them perform, via their videos on YT, truly brought me back memories of my unforgettable Genfest'80 experience, in Rome, Italy (April-June, 1980). We were all together at the Flaminio Stadium, young people from all over the world witnessing that unity is possible with Jesus Christ, our Savior. We were there to somehow "deepen" our spirituality, doing simple acts of love to/for God. We experienced working together, praying together and learning from one another, irrespective of all the barriers we have had. That was truly a fascinating, moving experience, for me, personally! Yes, we sang, we danced, we prayed, we performed, we worked together in unity with one another. We listened to stories, testimonies of our friends, and to the inspirational talk of the founder of the Focolare, Chiara Lubich (May she rest in peace! Amen. I just learned lately that she had passed away in 2008. Same thing with a very pious Austrian SVD priest who had been based in Ilocos, in the Philippines, Fr. Taschner, and who was instrumental in helping me participate in the said event. May he rest in peace. Amen).The following day after Genfest'80, we, the forty thousand young people in the Genfest'80, had Mass with then Pope John Paul II (Blessed John Paul) at St. Peter's Square, Rome, Italy. I felt holy, for the very first time I saw him, the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church! Yes, I saw Jesus in him at that time! He was so charismatic and inspiring! Overall, we spent one and a half months in Italy. One month was spent in Firenze (Florence) and two weeks at the Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Unforgettable, very memorable experience I've had with my fellow gen from different countries all over the globe. Yes, I was once a gen, a member of the so-called young generation. Something worth-mentioning, but a sad note: when she learned that I was in Firenze, our former neighbor in Ilocos, and colleague and friend of my sister Betty, "Manang" Sally (who'd been working for years in Rome, Italy, specifically in Napoli, that time, came over, with a female friend, to see/visit me in Loppiano. We had a good time, took pictures with a fellow gen, Lito, from Vigan City. Now, a year or two, I've learned that Manang (the "Ilokano" word or title given to an older sister, woman or lady) Sally has passed away. May she rest in peace! Amen.) And to our Blessed (Pope) John Paul, pray for us! (Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005.)

By the way, watching some of the Gen Rosso videos on YouTube, I came to realize that there are new, younger members now of this popular international singing group. I'm sure, those original members, like Marcy, have retired but are still active in the Focolare Movement. (My experience with the Focolare Movement, participating in Genfest, and attending Mariapolis before, is one that I cherish and treasure forever. I won't ever forget what I learned from such experience and am still trying to use and apply them in my daily life, i.e., doing simple acts of love to others, going against the current, praying for others, etc.)  
As always, I thank you, YouTube and the uploaders of the videos that I embedded with this blog post. (Marcy, of Gen Rosso, is one of the lead singers featured in the above video, Genfest 1983?). On the other video is His Holiness, Pope John Paul II addressing an audience of young (and old) people at various places and at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Rome, Italy. He died 02April2005. May he rest in peace. Amen. And, Blessed John paul, pray for us!). Thanks to Google and to Blogger, too. And thanks to all the people of goodwill. Thank you, God and to Jesus, our Savior, and my Inspiration. 

This is all for now. Until next time around, dear friends. Take care and have a blessed, safe, and wonderful weekend, everyone! May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 13April 2012

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