Great Celebrations in Bucchianico for the Crucifix that Spoke to St. Camillus

2‘What afflicts you, pusillanimous one? Go on, because this is my work, not yours’. This is how the crucifix spoke to St. Camillus during a moment of difficulty, encouraging him to continue with his work. It is for this reason that the Camillian world has a special debt to this crucifix, ‘because from that crucifix’, explained Father Cristoforo Trebski, rector of the Camillus de Lellis Sanctuary of Bucchianico, ‘our Order was born’.

After ten years the crucifix that spoke to St. Camillus returned to the town where the saint was born for a whole week of celebrations, which took place on 5-14 April. This was an event that was very much looked forward to by the citizens of Bucchianico who took part in large numbers in the initiatives organised by the St. Camillus de Lellis Jubilee Committee, and Camillian religious, during the fourth centenary of the death of the saint.

The crucifix was fetched in the morning of 5 April by some of the members of the Jubilee Committee and arrived in Bucchianico in the afternoon when it was welcomed by a large crowd of the faithful. A composed and well-attended procession wound its way from Via Piana – at the gates of the town – until the St. Camillus de Lellis Sanctuary where a Holy Mass was celebrated at 19.00.

On Sunday 6 April at 21.00 the sanctuary was the location of the performance of the play ‘A Story of a Father and Two Sons’, directed by Claudia Koll and acted by young artists from the Star Rose Academy, an academy for the performing arts. In the evening Claudia Koll provided the audience with testimony relating to her faith.

From Sunday 7 April until Thursday 10 April a Via Crucis with meditations was held every afternoon in front of the crucifix and this was followed by a celebration of the Eucharist. Every evening, in addition, a different group animated a moment of prayer: the St. Camillus de Lellis Renewal of the Spirit, Communion and Liberation, and the Lay Camillian Family.  On Thursday 10 April the Catholic Action group of the parish 17led a debate on ‘Inquiry into Jesus – Truth or Tales? History or Legend? Faith or Tradition?

On 11 April, the penultimate Friday of Lent, a solemn Via Crucis went through the historic centre of the town and on Saturday 12 April Bucchianico celebrated the World Day of Diocesan Youth, which was presided over by Monsignor Bruno Forte. Despite the bad weather conditions, a large number of young people met at the sanctuary for a ‘White Night’ of prayer and animation during which there was also an opportunity to visit places linked to St. Camillus. The Church of St. Urban was the venue of the performance of the musical ‘Camillus, Soldier of God’, which was greatly appreciated by those who saw it.

On Sunday 13 April the crucifix said goodbye to Bucchianico with a Holy Mass at the sanctuary in the square behind the church. At the end of the day Brother Carlo Mangione, the coordinator of the initiatives for the fourth centenary of the death of St. Camillus, gave his greetings to those people who were present and read a passage from the biography of St. Camillus which narrates the moving moments of his death.

On Monday 14 April, before going back to Rome, the crucifix was the subject of an event that was not in the programme with a short but intense visit to the community of the Daughters of St. Camillus, in which some members of the Jubilee Committee also took part. At 9.00 the crucifix was welcomed at the entrance courtyard of the nursing home of Bucchianico from where it was taken to a chapel-hall to allow the very many sick people who were there to take part in a Holy Mass presided over by the rector of the sanctuary, Father Cristoforo. At the end of the celebration the sisters and the patients said the rosary and prayers constantly until 15.00. Here as well, before the departure of the crucifix, the passage on the death of St. Camillus was read out.

61The presence of the crucifix, a symbol of suffering but also of hope, left an important mark in the hearts of the citizens of Bucchianico, who on a number of occasions during the week met together in silent and emotional prayer at its feet. For everyone this was a great occasion to relive the message of St. Camillus during the fourth centenary of his going to heaven.

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