In an interview offered for the Communication Department of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy, father Gheorghe Verzea, a parish priest in Padua since 2000, talked about the risk of losing the Romanian identity in the Italian communities.
The priest believes that “we should have the intelligence to learn from older emigrations.”
“For example, from the Romanians who left for America at the beginning of the last century and who have already passed the third and fourth generation. Let’s learn from them to make a change, very clear, especially in the language. We are very attached to the language and all our traditions, and it is natural. But the time will come when we will have to translate all our values into the language of the country where the community lives.”
“If we have the intelligence to learn from others and apply in our lives here in Italy, we will benefit.”
Italian language in worship
Father Verzea claims that introducing the Italian language in worship would be a factor that helps to preserve the identity and not to lose it.
“Think that at Christmas the children sing: “Small and swaddled, in a cotton diaper”, but very few understand what these words mean. They sing for our sake, but to touch their child’s soul, you have to speak in the language in which they think,” the Romanian priest pointed out.
“Our children think, dream, play and quarrel in Italian. I believe that little by little, for the sake of the children, we will have to make more room, in worship, for the Italian language. This is the chance to preserve our identity and carry on the faith in which we were born.”
“For many years, His Grace Bishop Siluan of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy has encouraged us to say at least a small litany, a litany of fervent supplication, as well as the “Our Father” in Italian.”
Romanian in the family
On the other hand, the priest advises parents not to speak Italian with their children.
“We must not worry too much about assimilating the Italian language. My opinion is that we, the adults, who are born in Romania if we speak Italian, do a disservice to the children. Because, until they go to kindergarten and school, they learn Italian from us and learn it wrong.”
“Then, to teach our children the Romanian language costs us nothing. On the contrary, I would say that it is natural for us to speak our language. Why not give our children a key to enter another culture? This is not a small thing, because others spend serious money to learn a foreign language, and it comes naturally to us. This is my thought regarding the transmission or loss of the Romanian language,” Father Gheorghe Verzea from Padua noted.
Photo source: Facebook / Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Parish in Padua
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