An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core
by Rebecca on 2008-10-07
At General Conference this weekend, President Monson announced that a new temple would be built in Rome, Italy. Upon hearing this announcement, I let out an audible gasp (just ask William) but was not alone, given the low rumble that we could hear from the Conference Center audience. This announcement, though entirely welcome, was entirely unexpected. The Church has been in Italy for a relatively long time, but the missionary work is slow going, due to long-standing cultural and religious preferences.
Iʼm excited to see the work go forward in this part of Europe (though probably not as excited as my good friend Liz who loves Italy so much that she even managed to finagle a mission call to Rome by sending in her missionary application with a picture of herself standing in front of the Italian flag). The temple will be such a blessing to the Southern European saints, who have traveled for years to Switzerland, Germany, England, and Scandinavia to do their temple work.
And as I listened to this announcement, my mind turned back to two experiences that I recently had, as I did work in the San Antonio Temple. In August, William and I participated in an endowment session, where I did the work for a woman named Benedetta Vitrello who lived in the 1700ʼs. I thought it was cool to have the name of someone who lived so long ago in another country, especially one that Iʼve visited before. And I couldnʼt help but smile as the temple workers tried diligently (and failed, given their Texan accents) to pronounce her lovely name.
In September, William and I participated in another session. At the beginning of our session, one of the workers announced that they would have names for sealings, if anyone wanted to stay around after their session. After our session, I asked William if he wanted to stick around; he didnʼt seem especially enthusiastic (we had already been up since 5 a.m.). But I felt strongly that we needed to do sealings. So, we joined the group in the sealing room, and the sealer said, “Oh, good, youʼre here just in time to help us. Weʼve got a large family from Italy that weʼll be doing today.” And so we all lined up and crowded around the altar, and the sealer announced that we would be doing work for the Vitrello family, two parents and six (!) children, from Italy. And he assigned me the name of Benedetta Vitrello. Imagine my surprise at recognizing her distinctive and familiar name and my excitement at having another opportunity to help her temple work move forward.
Benedetta, whose name means “blessed,” was truly a blessing to me in reminding me of this, that God loves all of his children and knows them by name. And he is willing, ready, and even eager to bless them, as they are ready to accept him in their lives. It is exciting to see the good news of the gospel spread throughout the world, and we are lucky to be a part of it.