Philippine-Australia-Saipan Province

The first charismatic Prayer Group for Italians in Melbourne turns 30


On Sunday 25 February 2009, Sr. Cesarina Paolini and Sr. Anna Genovese had the joy of coming together with a large group of people to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Charismatic Prayer Group for Italian speaking people in Melbourne. The event took place at the Italian Centre for Charismatic Renewal in Northcote. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Raymond Bujeja and Sr. Anna recalled the history of the Group, highlighting in particular the experience of joy and fraternal love in the Lord of the pioneer group.


Eighty nine people gathered in the Thornbury chapel of the Pastorelle Sisters on 25 February 1979 to launch the first Prayer Group, the Gesù Buon Pastore Group which was to meet monthly under the leadership of Sr. Cesarina and Sr. Anna.  Two months later, the group attracted more than 150 people and therefore it became necessary to move to a larger venue. The parish Hall of St. Mary’s Church, Thornbury, became home to the Group for many years and it wasn’t long before the prayer meetings became a weekly event. Gradually, members from the original group Gesù Buon Pastore moved to other parishes around Melbourne and some country areas, forming in the course of the thirty years, more than forty new groups, each one being instrumental in bringing many Italian folks back to the faith, to a renewed relationship with the Lord, especially through his Word, and providing a joyful experience of being Church in the world today.  


Today many of the original Prayer Group members are still actively involved in weekly prayer meetings.  Sunday 25 February 2009 was a wonderful occasion for them to come together with family and friends to praise and thank the Lord for the wonders the Spirit has truly worked in and through them.


Sr. Cesarina Paolini and Sr. Anna Genovese