Articles from the July 1997 Unification News

My Pre-blessing Door-to-Door experience

by Antonio Ciacciarelli -Bergamo, Italy

I want to share with all of you my first experience in door to door pre-blessing ceremonies. I think it can help those who have my same problem-using reason too much.

The first day I decided to go to pre-bless people door to door, my wife was busy, so I asked a sister if we could go together. She said yes, and my elder daughter (9 yrs old) asked to come with us. So the three of us went out, but I was a bit doubtful about the success of our mission. I felt a deep urge to realize TF's request, but my mind felt that it was difficult to pre-bless people the way we were supposed to.

Before starting we went to the center, where the blessing of 5 couples was scheduled. After the ceremony we went out, and we started knocking at the doors of unknown people. We found three or four ladies who allowed us to enter, but their husbands didn't want us to speak. Then we entered a building, while a man was going out of it. We greeted him, but his face was very dark, and he didn't even answer to us.

We rang a bell, and a very kind, middle aged lady told us to enter. She introduced to us her 92 yrs old mother, that was living with her family. We explained her about the Federation and the blessing. She was enthusiastic, and told us to wait for her husband. So we started discussing about many things: family values, her social work, and so on. Then I asked her: "By the way, is your husband the man going out of the building just before we came here?" and she said yes. Then I began to sweat: if he was so dark, he would have kicked us out as soon as he would have come back. And the lady added: "He is a very good man. He just went to the Church, he helps the priest a lot". This made me to sweat even more. There was the possibility that he was a religious fanatic, that could consider us just like heretics and would have shouted at us.

I was not worried for myself of course (in my 25 years in the UC I had many nice experiences of being kicked out, insulted, rejected...) but for my daughter. Another thought was worrying me, anyway. I was thinking that I was not worth of giving the blessing, that Catholics have strong prejudices against any other religion, and so on. There was an incredible battle in myself. Now I can say that it was because a foundation had to be established: it was not only the first time I was going to give the blessing door to door, but it was the first time anyone had done it in my city.

It was getting late and her husband was not returning, so we told the lady we would have returned another time and we went to the door...which opened, and the husband entered. It was actually the man we had met entering, but he looked completely different. His eyes were very bright, and he had a nice smile. His wife explained him what we wanted to do, and he said it was OK, in a very natural way. I invited also her mother to join in the ceremony, and she agreed happily.

I started to explain the meaning of the blessing, when someone entered the house: it was one of the sons of that couple, accompanied by his fiancée. His mother had already told us that this son and his fiancée were deeply religious, so I explained about the blessing to them too. Right away they accepted to participate. We just added a glass, and I said: "...the husband will drink a half of the wine..." and suddenly my daughter interrupted me: "No! It's the woman that should drink first, and then should pass the glass to her husband!". She had seen the blessing at the center, and she remembered how to perform the blessing better than I did.

We performed the ceremony, and everyone was happy. It was a deeply meaningful event: the first door to door pre-blessing ceremony in Bergamo had been performed, and three generations together had accepted it.

I was uplifted, stressed, enthusiastic, tired, in a mixture of feeling I never experienced before. I returned to normality only 24 hours later.

This experience and the following ones are changing my heart, my relationship with my wife and with my daughters. What moves me the most is that my elder daughter always wants to come with me when I go out for the pre-blessing, and she urges me to hurry up if I am late in getting ready.

I wish everyone to be successful in accomplishing our goal of 160 families.

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