Dear Sisters and Brothers, Welcome to our celebration.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Taoist Church of Italy. We started with a handful of people and today it is a well-established and well-known religious reality both nationally and internationally. An outstanding achievement of which, however, I am not the sole artificer. For this I thank from the bottom of my heart, Taoist mentors and sisters and brothers who have stood by me, helped and supported me, with benevolence and love. Without them I could not have built anything of what we had become.
My first thought goes to my Spiritual Father, Rev. Master Wang Guangde. If Heaven had not allowed me to meet him, none of us would be here today.
I am grateful to the dozens of people who believed in me and worked for this project with humility, faith and total commitment. Especially Ms. Daniela di Guida, Ms. Rosa Rubino and Dr. Giuseppe Cirillo. I thank the novices and initiates of our Church, as well as all Taoist believers. Without their help, the Temple of Great Harmony could not operate and exist.
My thanks go to the many masters sent by the Chinese Taoist Association who have so generously given us their teachings and supported us with their presence, intervening with authoritative delegations at our international activities. Among all of them, I would like to thank Rev. Master Huang Xinyang, who has honoured me with his friendship for 30 years, and Rev. Master Meng Zhiling, for his valuable teachings ranging from liturgy to inner work, because they have given a cultural and spiritual twist to our Taoist Education Academy.
I am grateful to the Taoist Mission of Singapore for the closeness shown on every occasion and the affectionate bond of Taoist brotherhood, masterfully nurtured by Rev Tan Zhixia.
My gratitude goes to Rev. Master Lee Zhiwang, without his spiritual and religious guidance, support and fatherly affection over the past 15 years, the Church would probably never have become the religious body it is today and we would have remained a mere national cultural association, like all others in the world.
Finally, I am grateful to the Will of Heaven. Without divine help, even a good fruit plant can wither away. In these three decades there have been many opportunities to fail but, each time, "something" has intervened to restore Harmony and has allowed us to grow and prosper.
To commemorate the event, for future memory, I want to tell you our story in words but above all in pictures. Our story shows that, even when you start from difficult if not impossible situations, with divine help and the help of people who love you, miracles become a reality. The event we are celebrating today is just one milestone in a journey that started 30 years ago. My hope is that it will be followed and extended by future generations of Italian Taoists, to glorify Taoism for the benefit of all Humanity.
(Vincenzo di Ieso)