DON GIANNI: THE HEART OF THE NET

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A story of generosity, of solidarity, of simple human understanding in front of a difficult situation experienced by the neighbor. We could call it in many ways but what really remains of the beautiful gesture of don Gianni Vettorello, chaplain of the State Police, is the spontaneous humanity that oozes beyond any vestment or mission. The protagonist of this story is a couple of the small village of San Bortolo in Veneto, forced to sell their wedding rings to overcome the many, too many economic difficulties. A drama that has deeply touched the priest, and that was for him a sufficient reason for deciding to personally help, within the limits of his possibilities those spouses, afflicted by a discomfort too big to be tackled alone, to recover the emblem of their love. From here, the building (from nothing) of a real network of solidarity, interwoven through a platform as the social network, that today more than ever is opposed for its negative effects. A network that has received between its meshes not only the generosity of Don Gianni, but the one of many other people, united in wanting to give back to the couple a glimmer of hope, in addition to the biggest symbol of their marriage.

Dignity to give back

“In reality – he explained to in Terris the same Father Vettorello – I also learned the news from the newspapers and I was very surprised when I read about the sale of the wedding rings. I understood immediately that, if a couple reach this gesture, it means that the family is in desperation. For this reason, I have tried to contact them and asked them to explain me the situation they were experiencing. At first I tried to help them in giving them money, in order to cope with their emergency. In the meantime, however, I asked for the measurement of their wedding rings”. Yes, because alongside the simple assistance, what was important at that time was the restitution of the dignity of the couple, the affective and material restoration of what for every spouse, represents the union for life exchanged with a promise in front of the Lord: “Together with other friends who have joined me in this initiative, we first asked to have back the wedding rings, but unfortunately they had already been melted. Then, through Facebook, we asked for help from other friends, which immediately responded. Someone has even offered their own rings, but the measure was too big. At the end, through donations of gold, we managed to contact a goldsmith that immediately created the new wedding rings”.

Between tears and wonder

A path that was not too long, concluded with the restitution of the rings to the two unfortunate spouses which, in some way, have seen in this gesture not only the importance of reciprocal acts of human solidarity, but also a new possible hope of rebirth: “When I brought the wedding rings to the couple, they immediately broke down into a liberating weeping mixed to wonder, for having recovered the tangible sign of their union that in their mind was definitively lost”.

The hidden Italy

For once the “social” tool was transformed into a means to convey a positive intent, demonstrating how, if used well, it can really play an important role to bring to the attention of people (of the net and not) life stories that otherwise would remain at the margins of society, in the suburbs: “What has been created was a network of solidarity: after reading my posts, many people stopped me in the street and gave me something for them or were simply telling me how nice it was that a priest took the commitment to return the wedding rings to a couple. And, in this occasion, I have seen how the social media has been very useful and how we can obtain good even from this instrument”. Of course, the freedom of expression intrinsic on web communication platforms, has not spared to don Gianni also some criticism, advanced by someone who obviously had not well understood as the initiative of the priest was not dictated by other motivation than the simple solidarity: “I also received some offense on a personal level, above all in virtue of my role as a priest. However, I did everything out of my own pocket: I am not a parish priest, and I do not even have unlimited resources. I did everything I could do, but now I must stop here, even if many people after this event, continue to ask for help. What I found living this story personally, is that there is a hidden Italy, desperate, which too often finds the doors closed. There are those who, on the one hand, do their best for the neighbor, but there are also those who still struggle to show generosity in some situations”.

The road of Francis

For this reason, never as in the historical period in which we are living, to focus the attention on the construction of a network of collaboration and solidarity that has in some way contributed to alleviating the suffering of someone else (or at least to turn the spotlight on an event of intimate sorrow) is more necessary than ever. On the other hand, has concluded don Gianni, “Pope Francis teaches us this: have a look at the latest and get to them through simple works of humanity and generosity”.

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