Now I know why my name is Cristiano.
Head of the host production workshop in the Opera Prison (Milan) until July 2020 when, thanks to the Clause 21 of the Italian Penitentiary Law (a clause that let people detained work outside prison), he was hired as a cook by the Arché Foundation. In November 2020, when the "eucharistic workshop" of Milan - in a structure confiscated from the Mafia - was born, he started to teach how to produce hosts to some women welcomed in the mother-child community of the Arché Foundation. This is how Cristiano is carrying out his project of life and dignity.
«What I have learned from the path taken in the host workshop - says Cristiano - is certainly something beautiful and positive. It all began with the interpretation of a dream of mine, that is, from my request for help made to God, who answered and granted me. I have learned many things: that forgiveness is for everyone, that God's love is immense, that if you want to get something and if you ask it with your heart, then it comes. As the Gospel says: "Ask and you shall receive". Then, from this experience I learned how beautiful life is, how beautiful it is to do good, to help others, to open up to people, to bear witness to one's experience...God's intervention in my life has changed my existence, it has converted my way: it has made me see things no longer with a mischievous eye, try to bring out the best in everything and not always be in search of negativity in everything. I learned to pray for other people because prayer is for others and not personal, so others will think about it for you. If you want you can ask and remind God of your desire and, if it is pure, he will grant it to you. I understood the meaning of my name and the weight it carries. Before I thought that I had an ordinary name, "Cristiano" because in the south of Italy it is common to have the same name of relatives and saints, but I was called Cristiano and none of my family is called that! Now I understand why my name is so and what "Cristiano" means. We are what we do and what we think, therefore, if there is evil in our mind and heart, we will automatically receive and do harm. But if we put the good in everything, it will come back to us. You have to be strong and ask for the strength to go forward, because the road is tiring. Nothing is achieved without effort: this is the way to Heaven. When you are on the right path, it seems that everything turns wrong, but do not worry, it is the devil who wants to mislead you: he will show you that negative people always get everything, luck and bad luck do not exist. This is a proof, the example shows us the Bible with Job, the challenge between good and evil. You lose everything but in the end you will get everything multiplied. At least that's what I understand. And I understood that man should return to love himself more, because indifference and non-fraternity is not good for anyone, on the contrary it only leads us to destruction. Forgiveness is important, one must always forgive before asking for forgiveness. Jesus gives us the example: who more than him has suffered injustice and evil? But we do not even forgive the little things, how will God forgive us? So don't do to the other what you don't want them to do to you. He loves and forgives. A big thank you goes to Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori and to all the people who believed in the project and in me. Thank you."
Even if I am in prison, I have found peace in a "job" different from all the others.
«My name is Mattia and I have been working in this workshop for three years, together with Vincenzo and Cristiano. What does this work mean to me? First of all, this job is different from all the others: those who work here are aware that it is a "job" that has to do with people and social objectives, in particular the increase of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. I must confess that my relationship with faith has not always been idyllic, despite having received Holy Communion and Confirmation at a young age. Whenever life brought me unjustice, I was used to blaming God: “Why are you doing this to me? What have I done to deserve all this?". But then I retraced my steps, thanks above all to a priest - the same who made me the second communion - who kept reminding me "What happens to you is necessary to make you grow.". Jesus continually tests us, and this is your test!”. I quit religion when my life came to its darkest moment: detention in prison. For years I despised religion and anyone who prophesied it. I prayed but had no answers and this further increased my spiritual crisis. I was alone, I felt abandoned, unable to enjoy His light. Then suddenly, to my surprise, an answer came and my life began to light up again , the path was finally visible: I found opportunities to get back into the game, I discovered pure love for a girl, right here in a place full of pain. Was it the right way?
"Please God give me a sign that I'm doing the right thing!" And the host workshop came.
What a fantastic atmosphere! What peace…inside a prison! I will say it once again: this is not a job like any other, we are part of a much larger plan, we are emissaries of His message , we are His earthly hands and His word. So how can this work not be different from all the others? And is "work" the right word? I just know that here I am free, no longer a prisoner of my body; when I'm here I breathe a different air. My mission is to transmit the love of God through the hosts produced here, to look for those boys who, like me, feel alone and are cornered where darkness awaits and to tell them: "God does not abandon you, we are all dots that form his drawing". So let's go, get up and spread His word»
I will only say one thing: I hope to do good.
«First of all, I want to say that I will carry the host production workshop experience for all my life. It is a mission for me .
I never expected in my life - which is always full of surprises - to make hosts. I am a believer and I hope to do good .
I feel incredibly lucky because, despite my past, I had the honor of being able to give life in the workshop to what is given to the faithful during the mass as the Body of Christ .
I am also flattered by this opportunity that has been given to me. On the day I spend my time in the host workshop, I feel free as if I could redeem the mistakes of my past, through which people still see me and judge me, making of me something I'm not...
Ever since I attended the workshop my faith has increased enormously: I notice it in all my daily actions, in the relationship with others, in seeing differently those who I once saw as my opponents.
The love of the Lord is manifested to me with the love that many people give me: from this I understood that the love of God is manifested to us through the love of others.».