Olympic Event: “Heart to Heart” Meeting With God

Interview With Salesian Father Fabian Gheller

TURIN, Italy, FEB. 12, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Participants in Turin’s Winter Olympics will have the opportunity to have a heart-to-heart meeting with Jesus.

An initiative of the Archdiocese of Turin, called “Heart to Heart,” has opened three churches in the city for daily Eucharistic adoration.

In this interview with ZENIT, Salesian Father Fabian Gheller, a member of the project’s organizing committee, explains the goals and hoped-for results of the initiative.

Q: How did this initiative arise?

Father Gheller: Heart to Heart was born following World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, and in response to Pope John Paul II’s invitation to place the Eucharist at the center of personal and communal life.

For the past three years, on Friday nights, in the heart of Turin’s historical center, during the months in which it is possible to leave church doors open, one of the churches is open for Eucharistic adoration. Whoever passes by can meet with Jesus, really present.

It is the area of nightclubs, the crossing of paths, of meetings between friends, of young people of different nationalities. Nights out can become an occasion to meet God. The Winter Olympics are an opportunity for this to take place every day.

Q: But, where does the name Heart to Heart come from?

Father Gheller: It is an expression that comes from St. Francis de Sales, as well as Cardinal John Newman. It makes reference to two profundities that meet: The heart of God speaks to the heart of man.

It is the language of silent prayer, of adoration, expressed in a small message written and placed before the Blessed Sacrament, questioned by the Word of God. It is a prayer that continues with the light of lit candles and is taken up by the one who replaces the person in the church, before the Eucharistic Jesus.

Q: Who organizes and promotes “Olympic adoration”?

Father Gheller: Above all it is Jesus who awaits those who pass by the church and enter, moved by curiosity for the music and the light of the burning candles.

Then there are also the groups of youngsters that animate the vigil, receiving the visitors, singing, playing instruments. Finally, there are priests available to offer a word and the Lord’s forgiveness.

Moreover, the Olympic Heart to Heart involves 43 religious congregations, which are present with men and women religious to pray. Some 14 cloistered convents will unite themselves spiritually with prayer, and we count on the help of 25 choirs.

Then there is the organizational secretariat, in which are represented the greater part of the most significant realities of the local church: the major seminary, the Don Bosco Salesians, the Focolare Movement, Communion and Liberation, the Youth Missionary Service, the Scouts, and representatives of parishes and of the laity, making up a single body, without distinctions, as expression of the one Church.

Q: Where and when is the Heart to Heart meeting with Jesus?

Father Gheller: There are three churches that hold adoration: the Holy Martyrs, the Most Holy Trinity — both on Via Garibaldi — and the cathedral.

[See: www.cuoreacuore.net]

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