The Death of My Father Has Been a Gift
My name is Father Andrea. I am originally from Italy and I have been a priest for two years.
I was almost 8 years old, when my father died of cancer.
Although my father was baptized, he did not grow up going to Church. In fact, as an adult, he had fallen far away from the Church, especially after his wife of five years died suddenly, leaving him alone with a 5-year-old child, my brother Mario. Even so, God was merciful to him. Shortly after the death of his first wife, he met my mother, who, incidentally, had recently come back to the Church.
My mother invited my father to go listen to the catechesis in her parish that she had listened to only a few months earlier. Through this experience, my father began a long journey of renewing his faith. This journey helped him to discover the love of God through his sins and failures and to find the meaning of his existence and the answer to his suffering.
On the night my father died, he reconciled with everyone, asking for forgiveness and receiving forgiveness. The last words he spoke were addressed to my 23 year old brother, who, at that time, was in the midst of a period of rebellion against God and the Church. My father told him, “Mario, open the windows, Christ is coming!” Shortly afterward, he passed away.
My father’s experience of finding God in his life, along with his last words, made a great impact on me. They became like a shield that protected me, especially as I was growing up and facing different experiences that led me to doubt God.
Humanly speaking, growing up I had everything that a young man could hope for in life…friends, a good school, and sports. I even had beautiful girlfriend. Nevertheless, inside of me there was always a deep tension…an internal turmoil and dissatisfaction that stayed with me.
I knew that the death of my father had left a great sense of insecurity inside of me. This was exacerbated by the fact that, after the death of my father, my older brother left the house and went to study in another city. Plus, in school, the beliefs of my friends were constantly contradicting the faith that I saw in my house. For many years, I lived with one foot “in the world,” as I tried to fit in with the lifestyle of my friends, and another foot in the Church.
When I finished high school, I found myself very confused. Life suddenly seemed like a huge mountain standing before me and I felt unable to climb it. I missed my father very much and the friendships I had built throughout the years were no longer enough. Anxiety became one of my worst enemies. I began university, but a few months later I decided not to continue.
I fell into a time of deep sadness and anger. Because of this, my relationships within my family became very difficult and I entered into a “fight” with God. I felt that God was creating a desert around me. I was angry with Him, yet I could not completely close the doors on Him. Even though God was already acting in my life, I didn’t yet realize it. Still, my father’s last words, “Mario, open the windows, Christ is coming!” were inscribed in my heart and they became my “inheritance.”
It may sound absurd, but it was in the midst of this period of conflict with God that I felt more wanted and loved by Him. God appeared to me like a father looking for his son. I found myself surrounded by people who were constantly reminding me of God’s unconditional love for me — even as I was lashing out and in conflict with everyone. I came to realize that God knew my life and understood my suffering in a way that no one else could.
Through the absence of my earthly father, I began to experience the love of God more powerfully. Little by little, I began to see God as my father and the death of my earthly father as a blessing. I came to realize that I had needed to lose my father in order to know my real father – God. To this day, I am grateful to my father because he fulfilled his mission which was to help me to meet my heavenly Father.
Today I am a priest….a MIRACLE!!! And I can say that the death of my father is the most precious jewel I have. It has been the door for me to touch Christ and experience in my own flesh the Resurrection! God is my Father! I am happy!!
My name is Andrea Povero. I was born in a town called Ivrea, close to Turin, Italy.
I am almost 33 years old and I am the last one of 4 children.
When I decided to enter the seminary, I chose to enter into a “missionary seminary.” I went to a retreat close to Rome and there, together with 300 young men, I put my name into a basket. In another basket were the names of the all the missionary seminaries around the world. When my name was pulled from one basket, it was matched with the name “Boston” from the other basket.
I was sent to Boston in November 2007. I became a priest by the grace of God on May 19, 2018.
For the past two years I have been the Parochial Vicar of three parishes: St. Thomas Aquinas and Our Lady of Lourdes in Jamaica Plain and Saint Mary of the Angels in Roxbury.