The origins of the Association
Movimento Impegno e Testimonianza
Our movement had a modest beginning in 1971.
The initiators of the movement are the priest Claudio Gatti of the diocese of Rome and Miss Marisa Rossi of Rome.
Don Claudio and Marisa started from different experiences and situations, but had in common the same ideals: to do something tangible for priests in difficulties and begin a more personal and incisive apostolate among the youth.
Each of them gave up sure life perspectives (family, career...) to achieve that purpose and to answer the specific vocation they felt they had been called upon.
We begun as a small group, but then, little by little, many more joined and this filled us with great joy because faith is an asset we deeply enjoy when it is lived in union with many brothers.
Our first target was to focus on our work with the young people for they are far from sacraments and do not bring forward any religious education.
We established some contacts in the place where they live and we tried to find the ones who were somehow interested in religious related problems.
We offered them the possibility to have an answer to their doubts about faith, to pray and meditate and inviting them in a peaceful environment and putting us at their disposal.
The early apostolic activities were mainly the following: afternoon meetings in schools to deepen the knowledge of the Gospel message, spiritual retreats, school field days.
The second objective of our work was to sustain priests in difficulties, through friendship, advice and with any kind of help. Some initiatives benefiting some priests and seminarists were brought forward in a reserved and discreet manner.
While the work among the youth had a satisfactory return, the meetings with priests and seminarists, though positive in several cases, aroused ill feelings and conflicts from some quarters.
An apartment located in Via Angelo Capuccio was rented in 1973 as the seat of the association and as residence of the people in charge of the same association. At the end of the lease, a new apartment, in Via dei Romanisti, was purchased in 1976.
As neither the first nor the second seat would guarantee enough independence and freedom of action, with the money gained from the sale of our apartment and with the generous help from friends and benefactors we purchased, in 1981, the small villa, which is the present seat of the movement.
Priests and laymen are called up as effective members of the association.
The presence of the priest is essential to guarantee the preaching of the Word of God, the practice of the sacramental life and a closer liaison with the bishop.
Approval from their Ordinary is required for priests wishing to become members of the movement.
Laymen, who are inside members of the association, are committed to follow evangelical advices in a personal consecration, they devote their energy for the purpose of the movement and are tied by brotherly charity and by the choice of consecrated voluntary service.
After the purchase of the actual seat we had at our complete disposal a chapel, premises and garden and we were able to plan our activities in a free and independent way.
From 1981 to 1988 our religious meetings were staggered during the week in different moments.
On Wednesday there was the reading of the Gospel, made with great attention, followed by a wide discussion that underlined the topicality, greatness and depth of the Holy Scripture.
On Thursday a group of youth approached with greater and greater awareness the Word of God, the prayer and the acquisition of spiritual values.
On Friday the prayer group recited the H. Rosary, followed by spontaneous prayers and moments of meditation in order to find in the faith the strength and help necessary to live the daily battles.
Beyond these planned activities there were others that did not obey a preset timetable and were aimed at favouring personal meetings with the youth and inviting them to clarify some sensitive faith and moral issues or group meetings to resume some talks of religious interest.
As the Eucharist is "Source and apex of all Christian life" (Lumen gentium) and since "In the Eucharist is contained the entire spiritual good of the Church" (Presbiterorum ordinis) we have made the H. Mass the center of our community.
From 1988 to 1993 we proposed the objective to constitute a cenacle that had to offer again the spirit of the first Christian community. The members of our community had to "Continue stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of breads, and in prayers" (Acts 2, 42).
We seek to form the members of the cenacle to a convinced and intelligent knowledge of the Word of God, thus conforming to what the Vatican II Council says: "The faithful will gladly approach the Holy Scripture, both with the holy liturgy rich with divine words, and the pious reading, and with proper initiatives aimed at such a purpose" (Dei verbum).
Besides, the members of the cenacle were formed to attend the H. Mass "consciously, fully and actively" (Sacrosanctum Concilium), to "Break bread every day" (Acts 2, 46), that is, to attend the H. Mass not only during holy-days of obligation, but many times a week, with the final aim, already achieved by several people, to attend it every day.
The members of our community were educated "To be continuative with one accord in prayer" (Acts 1, 14), to approach frequently the sacrament of the Reconciliation because "The complete individual confession and absolution represent the sole ordinary way whereby the believer, aware of the grievous sin, is reconciled with God and the Church (Canon Law 960) and to abide by regular spiritual direction in order to grow in a responsible and mature spiritual life".
We express with belief and preparation the love for Our Lady "Extolled by the grace of God, second to his Son, above all angels and men, for she is the most Holy Mother of God, that took part in the mysteries of God and is rightly honoured by the Church with special cult" (Lumen gentium).
We invoke Our Lady with the title "Mother of the Eucharist".
This title in brief contains the faith in the Eucharist, love for Our Lady and unity with the Church, community gathered around the Holy Communion.
We planned a series of apostolic activities.
Every day we opened the chapel to the people wishing to attend prayers: H. Rosary, H. Mass, vespers.
On Thursday after the celebration of the H. Mass, we did the bible meeting.
The 1st Friday of every month we took turns in adoration before Sacrament Jesus from 3 to 8 p.m.
The 1st Saturday of every month was dedicated to prayers for the Church and for the peace in the world.
The 2nd Saturday of every month we did a brief spiritual retreat.
On every Sunday and Holy-days obligation, at 11 a.m. there was the H. Mass for the whole community.
We are not a community closed on its own, we love the Church, we work for the Church and we are ready to suffer for it.
The history of the apparitions of Jesus, Our Lady, S. Joseph and other saints to Marisa unwound along all these years.
These apparitions are prior to 1971, the year when Don Claudio and Marisa first met according to God's will, but in this instance we will talk only about the apparitions going from the above mentioned year to the present day.
This long period could be divided into three parts. The first part is from 1971 to 1988, the second from 1988 to 1993 and the third from 1993 to the present day.
During the first part only a few people had the knowledge of these apparitions and only Don Claudio was always present.
Before accepting its supernatural origin Don Claudio studied them, sifted and submitted them to a careful examination and he sought advice, instruction and guidance from learned and competent people, because at the beginning of this supernatural experiences he was rather young and unprepared. He went through the messages and verified that there was nothing conflicting with the Holy Scripture. He had always in mind what S. Paul says: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal 1, 8).
He had confirmation that the messages came from God, for they helped the people practising them to gather notable spiritual fruits. Also on this point the Word of God is enlightening: "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, temperance" (Gal 5, 22).
In the messages he verified a genuine love for the Church, respect for the ecclesiastical hierarchy and total docility to the teachings of the Church. In them he caught also an immense love, often anguished, but always respectful for the priests called "Beloved sons".
Don Claudio, though he recollected quite well the words of Jesus: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign" (Mt 12, 39), asked and obtained signs and wonders that comforted him in accepting the supernatural origin of these apparitions. He was told much in advance about some happenings, some of them exceptionally important for the Church and for society, which took place right on time at the specified date.
Finally he turned to himself the words of Gamaliel: "If this work be of man, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God" (Acts 5, 38-39).
The first period (from 1971 to 1988) was the most beautiful both for Don Claudio and Marisa, the one they most willingly remind, for they lived these supernatural experiences without any worry about having to endure criticism, curiosity, distrust or hostility from the people.
Our Lady guided them with love and patience and at the proper moment they received also reprimands, which She called "Motherly reproaches". In those years She entrusted them with some missions whose sensitivity compels us to shroud them with silence and discretion.
At times the work was not understood, was not acknowledged, it gave fruits not everybody succeeded to grasp.
The same superiors, still in the dark about these supernatural experiences, most likely had some questions, but as they saw in them sincerity and lack of concern, they kept silent and knew how to wait.
From 1988 to 1993 Our Lady allowed some people to be present during the apparitions in order to form a cenacle of prayer and formation. Not everybody, as it was expected, answered the call; some backed off for reasons that can be easily identified and the parable of the guests to the wedding banquet of the king's son was again topical.
During the first period the suffering was not missing, but in the second period it was present more vehemently under various names: incomprehension, envy, jealousy, slander and fear of the supernatural.
At times they chose to keep silent, at times they were forced to defend, many times they were placed in such a situation to succumb. Discouragement, bitterness, disappointment and disheartening kept them company and the desire to throw up everything was strong, overbearing.
The grace of God saved them from failure, in their hearts often resounded the words of the Lord to Paul: "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Cor 12, 9).
They were helped by the brothers and sisters of our cenacle who kept close to them with love and faith.
They may repeat to the members of our community what St. Paul says to the Philippians: "Thanks to your prayer and the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ in nothing I shall be ashamed" (Phl 1, 19, 20).
To these brothers and sisters in the October 1988 Our Lady gave some messages and as She Herself says: "To lead you by hand little by little towards holiness" (Message of October 1988).
Since 1993 we began the third period of these apparitions to be thoroughly lived.
After twenty-two years of concealment and silence, God willed these apparitions to be open to everybody, known by everybody as we read in the message dated June 20, 1993.
When Don Claudio and Marisa received this message they were overcome by fear and dismay. They felt alone, weak, defenceless and dismayed they wondered: "How could we sustain the impact and burden that public apparitions imply?".
Once more the Word of God infused them with peace and certainty: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" (Rom 8, 26). "When I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor 12, 10). Jesus and Our Lady helped them to abandon themselves to God and requested them to say: "It is God's will. So be it" (Message of June 27, 1993).
The ecclesiastical authority was informed in advance before the apparitions became public.
It occurred for the first time in the history of the Church that the ecclesiastical authority was informed about the beginning of public apparitions, that is to say with everybody present, before admitting people into the apparitions.
In fact Don Claudio, on September 24, 1993 spoke at length and with details about these alleged apparitions with the Auxiliary Bishop H. E. Cesare Nosiglia.
In the same time he left the manuscript of the messages "The catechesis of God" to the Bishop and asked him to read it and point at his remarks wherever necessary.
He also mentioned to the Auxiliary Bishop the program that was planned: catechesis, prayer, apparition, H. Mass and the approach that was chosen: silence, meditation, listening, participation, in an environment devoid of fanaticism, search of sensational and cult of the person.
From the beginning we sought to work in close union and dependence with the ecclesiastical authority, relying on its judgment concerning the supernatural origin of the alleged apparitions and this was stated openly and often repeated.
We behaved as Mary and Joseph after Jesus birth; they did not tell anybody that Jesus was born, but they did not prevent the shepherds from spreading the news of his birth.
We never did any promotional work about these alleged apparitions, yet, we did not prevent the people who came as guests of outside members of the community, from talking and spreading the news.
Our Lady is neither heard nor seen during the apparition, but we hear through Marisa's voice what Our Lady communicates.
The Mother of the Eucharist talks in Aramaic to Marisa. She has the gift to understand this tongue only during the ecstasy; then she translates immediately in Italian what Our Lady says in Aramaic.
All the people present are able to listen to the message through Marisa and sometimes also the conversation that takes place between Our Lady and Marisa, between Jesus and Marisa.
Occasionally Our Lady gives personal or secret messages that must be known only by the interested party or by everybody at a later stage. In these occasions Marisa hears what Our Lady dictates in the most complete silence. The visionary writes in a shorthand form taught her by Our Lady and nobody is able to decode it.
These messages are later transcribed in Italian and delivered to Don Claudio that keeps them and relates them to the interested people, if they agree.
Once the personal messages are delivered, Marisa forgets them, for it is only up to the priest to know the secrets of the souls in order to guide them.
Our Lady has given messages also to priests, nuns and visionaries. For the time being all of them are kept secret, except for the first of the messages to priests that Our Lady asked to be published and that she called "The Decalogue for the priests" because it contains ten splendid motherly admonitions.
It is now available the first of the books on the life of Our Lady. Our Lady has dictated and keeps on dictating her life to Marisa. At the beginning of the book on Our Lady's life we describe how it was composed and we speak about the various stages of this composition.
The participants to the alleged apparitions were pilgrims coming from Rome and outside Rome, from Italy and outside Italy, from Europe and outside Europe.
The booklets with messages were sent, upon request, everywhere.
Our Lady delivered to Marisa a series of secrets concerning the future of the world, of the Church and Italy. She taught us not to fear the secrets, but to fear a life lived without grace: "The secrets are tough only for the people without grace, whoever is with my Son Jesus has nothing to fear" (Message of October 3, 1992).
Jesus and Our Lady defined these apparitions as "The hardest, the most fought against and the most important" (Messages of June 12, 1994 and July 17, 1994).
Our Lady has often repeated: "Yes, the Eucharist will triumph" (Message of August 31, 1994).
This announcement is still meeting with refusal and opposition. We are little, weak, poor creatures who, because of God's will, are just lending our voice, mind and heart to Our Lady so the divine will becomes known.
As a consequence we share with Our Lady the refusal and opposition that this announcement brings about.
The Eucharist that today is not loved, is refused, is forgotten, will become the "Heart of the Church and of the world". At last man will love, for he will receive love from the Eucharist, he will hope for he will receive hope from the Eucharist, he will believe for he will receive faith from the Eucharist, man will live in a state of grace for he will acknowledge to receive life from God, man will go back to God and will be united with God.
From this attained union between God and man, marvellous benefits will be drawn by individuals, families, communities, by the Church and the world.
Everything will revolve around the Eucharist and from the Eucharist everything will receive light, strength and warmth.
To summarize what has been said so far we refer the words of Our Lady: "These are the apparitions God the Father willed, in this little place, for the triumph of my Son Jesus" (Message of October 16, 1994).
Wickedness and denigrations were thrown at us; we received vicious critics and heavy judgments. We were on the brink to give up fighting and to commence a less tormented life, also because of severe health problems that gave us serious worries.
But with the grace of God, with the help of the community members and our many brothers and sisters we have overcome weariness, disappointment, discouragement and the fear of suffering.
We followed Our Lady's advice: "When you feel really prostrated, exhausted, stretch your arms, raise your eyes to Heaven and cry: Our Father " (Message of March 5, 1994).
We found protection, guidance, strength and support in the Eucharist; we keep tight, as chicks, under the mantle of the Mother of the Eucharist.
Humanly speaking we are aware of the superiority of the people opposing us, as we are aware of our weakness and meanness, but in our heart the prophetic words of the Mother of the Eucharist resound: "Fight the hard battle, the long battle and then there will be the triumph of the Eucharist and your triumph as well" (Message of July 31, 1994).
On September 14, 1995 in the garden of our seat in Via delle Benedettine the first great Eucharistic miracle took place. It repeated again and again with many thousand people present. We may well say the extraordinary has become normality and these miraculous apparitions will have to be remembered, in the future, first of all as the Eucharistic apparitions.
We, members of the "Movimento Impegno e Testimonianza - Madre dell'Eucaristia" ("Commitment and Testimony Movement - Mother of the Eucharist"), have seen and we have believed together with many other people; we have the right to believe.
The Eucharistic miracle of September 14, 1995 took place during the procession. From Jesus chest, the sacred particle became visible and settled on the joined hands of Miss Marisa Rossi.
In remembrance, a cross has been placed where the first great Eucharistic miracle took place.
That was the day when the Lord began to reveal himself and to be visible to all the people present appearing under the kind of Eucharistic bread.
The host settled many times also on the chalice in the left hand of the statue of the Mother of Eucharist placed in the little chapel. Such statue is the symbol of our movement, but first of all is the symbol of the union that must exist between God and us. With these apparitions Our Lady is requesting us to go to her Son, to be in union with Him and to be able to attain holiness, final destination for each of us.
Additionally the Eucharistic miracles took place on a third statue: the one of Baby Jesus placed on the altar in the little chapel.
The Eucharist has been found more than once on the statue of the little Baby stretching His arms: one towards Heaven and the other towards men on Earth in such a way that we understand He is present there and He can and wants to be everyway near us.
The cross and the two statues are important for the movement, for the community, for all of us and for those people wishing to love the Eucharist. These statues have been declared "thaumaturgical" by God's will. The cross reminds us of the "suffering" of Jesus and his "endless love" towards us; the statue of Baby Jesus reminds us the "joy" to be united with God and to grow more and more in holiness; the statue of the Mother of the Eucharist reminds us of that sweet "union" between father and sons. Her glance is particular because is turning in the same time to the children, to Heaven and to the Eucharist she is holding in her hand. The statue was sculptured in 1989 by Mr Adolf Insam of Ortisei (Bolzano). It was Our Lady that pointed out to Miss Marisa and Don Claudio the sculptor to whom they should go. The sculptor did no longer practice his profession because of his old age. In spite of everything he accepted, but he was not successful in perfectly representing the triple glance mentioned above. By the time the statue arrived in Rome it changed expression so much that the same sculptor to whom the pictures were sent at a later stage did not recognize it.