The 23rd of April 2023 marked the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Redemptorist Church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel and the Community at Scifelli in Italy. The event was celebrated with the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Francesco Z. Stanula, C.Ss.R, the Vicar General of the Congregation who invited the people to look back at the past with gratitude for the presence of the Redemptorists among them for 250 years and to now look forward with hope in the Risen Lord’s presence amongst them despite the anxieties and challenges of life. Just as the Risen Lord accompanied the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, the Risen Lord will always accompany his disciples, now the people of Scifelli into the future. The celebration was well attended with the presence of Fr Serafino Fiore, the Provincial of the Province of Naples, Fr Antonio Cirulli, the Provincial of the Province of Rome, Fr Johannes Römelt, the Conference Coordinator of Europe, Fr Joseph Ivel Mendanha, General Consultor, Fr Vicente Soria Fleitas, Economo General, Fr Giani Congiu, the Rector of San Alfonso in Rome and with a few confreres from the Roman province and the community of Frosinone.
Fr Sergio Santi, C.Ss.R., the Rector of Frosinone and Parish Priest of Scifelli welcomed the confreres and people and read out a letter of St Alphonsus written to the Abbot of the Cistercian Monastery Casamari thanking him for the invitation to come and start a foundation at Scifelli and for the help he was willing to give the confreres Fr Francesco de Paola and Lorenzo Negri whom St. Alphonsus had chosen for the foundation at Scifelli. Fr Francesco de Paola and Fr Negri visited the Abbot Arnaud of Casamari in February 1773 and soon after preached a series of missions in Veroli and in Colleberardi, in the surrounding areas. In March Fr. de Paola met with Monsignor Giacobini and then preached a mission at Scifelli. In April Frs. Villani and Caione came to Scifelli, and discussions began regarding the foundation at Scifelli. On the 25th of April, the house and Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel were given to the Redemptorists, and by the end of May, de Paola was chosen and took over as the first Superior of the Community at Scifelli and soon began the work of constructing the college building at Scifelli. In October of 1773, the community welcomed a novice to Scifelli. Scifelli would later serve as a novitiate, college for studies, and house of young aspirants and postulants of the Roman Province.
Today the Redemptorists no longer live at Scifelli but the community at Frosinone serves the parish of Scifelli. The entire town of Scifelli along with the Mayor of Veroli gathered at the gate of the town and in procession with a beautiful image of St. Alphonsus which was carried very solemnly entered the town with the Redemptorists and prayed at the steps of the Church in gratitude and petition to the Lord for the presence of the Redemptorists for 250 years in the town. After a beautiful and solemn celebration of the Eucharist, there were refreshments served in the parish hall for all which was a time for sharing and meeting, and exchanging wishes. The Redemptorists then went to Frosinone for a festive lunch. At lunch, Fr Antonio Cirulli, the Provincial of the Province of Rome thanked Fr Stanula the Vicar for his presence and inspiring homily and all the confreres present.
One looks ahead to the future as in 3 years the community at Frosinone will be celebrating 250 years of its foundation.
Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R.