The Heralds spread the gospel loud and proud

By  Sara Loftson, The Catholic Register
  • February 5, 2007
heraldsTORONTO - The Three Musketeers, Swiss Guards, medieval knights — members of the Heralds of the Gospel have heard it all. When they wear their scapular in public they can’t go anywhere without attracting attention. 

There is often a “bubble of silence” when members walk into Tim Hortons, said David Giavedoni, 22, originally from Hamilton, Ont.

“I prefer when people ask, rather than have them stare at you,” said Toronto-native David Bonyun, 25, who normally only wears the scapular when he’s out evangelizing.

“We have to be proud of our church, our faith, who we are,” said Giavedoni, explaining why the Heralds wear the outfit. A scapular is a vestment consisting of a long piece of cloth with a hole for the wearer’s head that stretches down the front and back of the body.

The two men live consecrated celibate lives in community with 15 other men between the ages of 17 and 30 in Schomberg, Ont., in the archdiocese of Toronto.

“It’s something I feel an attraction to,” said Bonyun, who enjoys the travelling evangelization component of the movement. Since joining 10 years ago he’s travelled across Canada and South America.  

This Catholic lay movement, founded in Sao Paolo, Brazil, by Fr. John Scognamiglio Cla Diasis, is mainly composed of young people under 30. 

In Canada 60 people live in four communities, including the men’s houses in Schomberg and others in Montreal and Hamilton, as well as a women’s house in Hamilton. The Heralds hold a weekend program at their centre in Hamilton for children and teens.

The weekend program is how Giavedoni and his younger brother Joseph, 19, first got involved at around the age of 12. 

The Heralds came to their elementary school, St. Christopher, in Hamilton, to help out in the school and play with the children on the playground during recess. Soon after the brothers started going to monthly all-day meetings on Saturdays at the Hamilton centre where they mixed sports and other fun activities with catechesis classes. The monthly meetings turned into weekly visits.

At 16 Giavedoni joined the community and his younger brother followed soon after.

Instead of pursuing a traditional post-secondary education at a Canadian college or university, the brothers opted for formation studies in Sao Paolo at the Academy of the Heralds of the Gospel. During formation here, everyone studies a range of humanities, learns Portuguese, the international language of the movement, and learns how to play an instrument so they can visit parishes and provide the music ministry during Mass.

For the consecrated members, community life is structured into a daily routine. The Heralds wake up at 7 a.m. seven days a week and begin their day by singing the creed, followed by breakfast. Everyone eats lunch and dinner together.

Everyone is expected to spend at least one hour in front of the blessed sacrament in adoration some time between 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Throughout the day everyone takes turns cooking, gardening and house cleaning for the community and each person tends to a job within the movement, fund-raising, mailing, manning the desk, preparing outreach activities or doing public relations. After dinner they watch a message download off the Internet on TV, normally given by their founder. By 10:30 p.m. everyone sings the “Salve Regina” in Gregorian chant followed by silence and bed time.

Aside from consecrated members families who practise the Herald’s spirituality. In Canada up to 40,000 families correspond through mail and the Internet.

The consecrated Heralds travel the county visiting family homes, hospitals, schools and prisons with either a portrait of Mary or a statue of Mary to help families pray the rosary.

“We try to reunite the lost sheep to the fold,” said Giavedoni.

The Heralds try to show the beauty and joy within the Catholic Church by their living example of obedience to Jesus, Mary and the Pope.  

“Many think that the church is a place of penance and suffering. Yes, that’s there, but everything is done in a joyful manner,” said Giavedoni.

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