We started our day by attending mass at the smaller of the two churches in Gallo. We entered late and took a seat behind the only other four people attending. All older ladies.
Michael, Josh, and I all wanted to go. Even though we knew we’d be unable to understand it, we wanted to sit in the place where perhaps Joseph Muccio attended as a young man. I’m learning so much family history through this trip and I can’t possibly share all the details, but here’s the basics…
Joseph Muccio was born in Gallo Matese and is the grandfather (or Puppo) of Michael Muccio, which makes him Josh’s great-grandfather and our children’s great-great-grandfather. He left Italy when he was just 17 years old to come to America where he settled in Pennsylvania and married his wife, who was also Italian.
As I sat in the little church I don’t think God could’ve spoken to me more clearly if I had understood the words the priest was saying. I couldn’t help but wonder if Joseph Muccio sat in that very church and felt a stirring to leave for America. Was there something a priest said that confirmed his desire to seek out more? This man seemingly unconnected to me made a decision that changed my life. It changed the lives of his children, his children’s children, and his great-grandchildren. If not for his courage I wouldn’t be living the life I have now. If not for the courage of my own great-grandmother who got on a ship at 15 years of age and left Norway for America, I wouldn’t lead the amazing life I now lead.
It is foolish for anyone to think that our decisions are only our own. Every choice we make affects those around us and more importantly it affects generations to come. We can be so narrow minded at times thinking, “It’s my life and I’ll do whatever makes me feel good.” But it just isn’t so.
As I sat in that tiny little chapel, eyes brimming with tears, I was so very grateful for the courage of those who came before me. I am grateful for those whose legacies live on and I hope to show the same courage in my own life. The courage to live my life knowing it is not my own. It is Christ’s. And when I seek Him first I know the legacy I create for my children and their children will be one rich with meaning.
As Michael and I were talking later on in the afternoon the very same theme came up in our conversation without me even bringing it up. We don’t know what prayers have been prayed by the generations before us that we are seeing answers to now. What power there is in prayer that it can affect generations to come even after we are gone.
Touring Gallo throughout the morning was fun as we walked all over the small town. The air was cool and the sun was warm. We saw cousin Domenic’s house. He has the best property in town – the view of the lake with the mountains behind it is beautiful!
We made our way down to the lake and stopped to chat with kind lady who spoke to me after church. Well she tried to speak to me. She spoke Spanish and Italian which is great but she spoke so softly I couldn’t understand her. Aye! I learned from Rosa later that this lady is Rosa also and she lived most of her life in Argentina where many of Gallo’s people migrated. She moved back and only recently lost her husband and is very lonely. She’d been trying to ask me to stay after mass to pray with her! So now this dear woman is on my heart, and I will certainly be praying for her.
The pizzeria (aka the only restaurant in town) normally only opens for dinner at 7 on weekdays, but they told us they’d open for us to have lunch. As honored as we felt we somehow managed to order without finding out the prices of anything and paid 40 euros for a giant platter of calamari and shrimp. After eating a plate of delicious pasta. And I had to force part of that down because Rosa was making comments about me not finishing it. This is the part of Italy I do not like! I am not insulting you if I don’t finish my food! I literally cannot fit anymore in my stomach!
Anyway, we learned our lesson and just got pizza or pasta for dinner! No confusion! We ate with Rosa, and we all very much enjoyed getting to know her. She is very open and shared much about herself and her passion to see Gallo restored.
When we returned to our B&B ready to sleep, it was like a hot box and we couldn’t cool it down even with the window open. So one night freezing and the next sweating haha!
Everything we’ve done in Gallo we’ve had to completely rely on others and their kindness. We are so grateful for everything they did to care for us. I loved being in the conversations with Giovanni. He’d talk to us and laugh and we’d laugh too because it was so funny, yet we had no idea what he’d said. Such a cute little old Italian man!