On the afternoon of 19 November 2021, a group of students and administrators from Collegio Sant’Anselmo took a trip to the monastery of Praglia, an historically important and famous monastery outside of Padua, to celebrate the priestly ordination of their fellow resident Alfio Catalano.
The abbot of Praglia himself, Stefano Visintin OSB, former rector and vice prior of the Pontifical Ateneo and Collegio Sant’Anselmo, greeted the visitors in a van at the Padua train station, and, upon arriving at Praglia, ushered them into supper with the monks.
The next day, after midday prayer and lunch, Abbot Stefano invited the group on a tour of the monastery. We began with the former grand refectory and moved up to the two floors of the historic library. From there, we descended into the cellar of the monastery.
The Abbey of Praglia produces some of the best white, red and sparkling wine in Italy. In the cellar, Abbot Stefano showed us how the monks produce and age the wine. In the floors above, Abbot Stefano showed us racks of drying tobacco leaves. He explained that in the last year, the Abbey has experimented with growing tobacco in partnership with a company that produces cigars. Nearby, on the way to the farm, he explained that the monastery also grows, produces and sells herbal tinctures, cosmetics, teas, oils and soaps; a variety of liquors and confections; and honey.
Later on Saturday afternoon, finally, the group celebrated Dom Alfio‘s ordination. In the packed Abbey church, the ordination was presided by the bishop of Padua, Mons. Claudio Cipolla. After the ceremony, Dom Alfio’s friends and fellow priests received the traditional blessing from a new priest. The celebration then continued in the beautiful former refectory of the monastery.
The next morning, Fr. Alfio celebrated his First Mass. The homily was given by Abbot Stefano. After the Mass, all of Alfio’s friends and family celebrated a festive lunch in his honor.
The day ended late in the afternoon when the group departed to return to Sant’Anselmo.
The community of Sant’Anselmo wishes our Fr. Alfio joy and success in his new ministry. We would also like to thank Abbot Stefano and his community for their gracious hospitality and welcoming spirit.