There is a bit of activity this weekend in Pollone as the town is having something like a community picnic. It’s a three-day event that will end with fireworks on Sunday night at 11:30 p.m. Tonight there will be choirs singing at the church and tomorrow there will be a little market all along the main street. It’s a taste of small town life that I am familiar with being from a small town myself. Yesterday and today were the first “running of the cows” – as I like to call it – when the herds of huge cows are brought down from the mountains. They bring them right down Via Pier Giorgio Frassati. When I hear those cowbells ringing, I hurry to the main gate to watch them go by. Enormous animals with the biggest bells around their necks hung from very ornate leather collars. It is a sight! I also enjoy seeing the line of cars stuck behind the herd of cars. I can imagine the cell phone calls being made, “Um…I’m going to be a bit late. There’s a herd of mucche in front of me!”
Another aspect of the small town life is the weekend Mass schedule. There are three main churches here and only one priest (who recently marked his 60th anniversary of ordination.) Mass is held only once in each church on the weekend. Tonight it will be at Holy Trinity Church. Sunday morning, it is at the Parish Church. Sunday evening, it is at the Cangio Church. The Cangio Church (the proper name is the church of Ss. Fabian and Sebastian) is where Pier Giorgio’s baptism was completed on September 5, 1901. Today’s picture is a large reproduction of the baptismal certificate filled out by the parish priest at that time. I wonder if he would have written a little neater if he knew it would one day be hanging on the wall of the church! The certificate gives a little bit of the family tree: the name of the parents and grandfathers and godparents and, of course, the infant: Pier Giorgio Michelangelo Frassati.
When Pier Giorgio was born in Turin on April 6, 1901, he was a bit asphyxiated and so he was taken to the parish priest for something like an emergency baptism. If you dabble in Italian, you can see on the ninth and tenth lines of this certificate that the event celebrated here in Pollone on September 5th was to supplement the ceremony administered in Turin.
This certificate hangs in a little side area of the church (which is very small itself) just in front of about three or four pews. To the right of the pews is a small picture of Pier Giorgio. The last pew still has the “Francesco Ametis” nameplate on it to indicate it was the Ametis family pew. Francesco Ametis was Pier Giorgio’s maternal grandfather. He was also his godfather. He was the one who had this villa built in 1875. So quite a bit of history is in that pew. I like sitting there and feeling like part of the family! It’s also nice to look at the baptismal certificate and think back to 1901 when that little child of God made his entrance into the Church, to 1990 when he was beatified in St. Peter’s square, and to that date uncertain when he will be canonized. Santo subito! ///cmw