Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Italian LDS Mission Boundaries

I discovered that my former mission and that of my daughter Gianina the Rome Italy Mission was expanding to include Catania effective 1 July 2010.  When I first went on my mission in 1975 the Italy Rome Mission included all of Sicily.  In fact I helped open Ragusa and served in Catania for a couple of months.

Sorella Cozzens, a sister missionary serving in the Italy Milan Mission, shares the following letter that her mission president sent to all his missionaries and their families about the collapse of  the three missions (Catania, Rome, and Milan) into two (Rome and Milan) and the new boundaries.  

President Dunaway describe the following changes:

Cari Anziani e Sorelle,

One of the signs that the Church is maturing in a country is a reduction in the number of missions. As the number of stakes increase and as the local leadership matures, the need for large numbers of missionaries and missions is reduced. We have arrived at a point in Italy where the need for three missions is no longer necessary. For this reason, the First Presidency has determined that the number of missions in Italy will be reduced from three to two. On July 1, 2010 the Catania Mission will be disolved and become part of the Rome Mission. The Rome and Milan Mission boundaries will be adjusted so that the Firenze District (which consists of the Toscana region) will become part of the Milan Mission. This change is being announced to all priesthood leaders in Italy this week and will be published in the Church News on February 13.

These changes are a sign of the growth of the Church in this land and will result in the Lord's work moving forward at an even greater pace. This past year, the number of baptisms in Italy has increased significantly. I am confident as each of us does our best to focus on the Lord's work and consecrate all of our efforts in finding, teaching and baptizing, we will see many more miracles. I encourage you to seek the Lord's guidance as to what you can do to continue in our effort to take his work to the next level.

I am grateful for each of you and the dedicated, faithful service you are giving.

Tanti calorosi saluti,
Presidente Dunaway

The Church News reported only briefly mentioned the change as "Combine the Italy Catania Mission with the Italy Rome and the Italy Milan missions."  

Sister Amanda Ashleigh Maero actually includes a map of the changes on her blog and this added detail:

The First Presidency has determined that the Italy Catania Mission will be dissolved and the boundaries of the Italy Rome and Italy Milan Missions will be realigned to include the area of the discontinued mission. This will take effect July 1, 2010. The Italy Rome Mission will no longer include the La Spezia area or Florence.
Sister Alishia Hashey of the Catania Mission says about the change:

 I have exciting news! As of July 1st, I will no longer be a Catania missionary but a Rome missionary! I didn't get kicked out of my mission, don't worry. Because of the growth of the church in Italy and to prepare for the Rome temple, they are dissolving the Catania mission into the Rome mission. Pretty much, it just means that I will be not only in Sicily and the shoe part of Italy, but also the calf--if you look at the map. The mission extends from below Tuscany down to Sicily and the islands of Malta and Sardinia. I'm really excited about this change but it's also made me think of how it really doesn't matter where we are, it just matters what we are there for and who we are with. Because the two missions are merging, there will be twice as many of us (120 missionaries) all under one Mission President. I am just so happy that I get this time to share this message with everyone I meet. Sicily is wonderful, the people here are wonderful and so is this message I am sharing. 
Sister Aubry Bjarnson says that a few of the missionaries in Rome will be reassigned to the Milan Mission:

I already sent you the stuff about Italy becoming two missions. Some people who are currently serving in the Rome mission will end up getting changed into the Milan mission. Could you imagine getting transferred into a different mission? Strange. Of course, it doesn't affect me. It just means when we go to visit Livorno, we'll be in a different mission.
Sorella Layne Watson had mixed feelings about the news:

We received some incredible news the other day. That honestly turns my stomach a bit with mixed thoughts. I know it's for the best but it feels like someone is dying! The Italy Missions are being consolidated into 2 missions. Milano and Catania. Toscana should be the part moving north and Roma will take in the whole south. Changes take place 1 July, right as Presidente e Sorella Acerson go home. It should be announced on the 13th of Febbraio. Nevertheless, the work moves forward. This will encourage the members that this is their work too.
Elder Ray Banks of the Catania Mission is actually excited about the change and looks forward to it:
Effective July 1st the Italy Catania Mission, along with all of its missionaries will become part of the Rome Italy Mission!!!

Which means that the possibility of serving in any of their cities will open up (like Napoli!!), and also that the mission home will move to Rome.

Basically it's just totally exciting. We will also have twice as many missionaries in our mission now.

Pretty much, this is totally awesome.
Sometimes missionary's blogs are the best source for finding out about changes in mission boundaries since they give the nitty gritty and their personal perspective about how the changes will affect them.


Bernadette said...

HI Sorelli e Anziani

I'm Sorella Bernadette Gray-Dee and I served in the Rome Italy mission from 1980-81 as the only New Zealander. 2008 my daughter, Alexandra Dee lived in Sicilia on an Overseas Trip Abroad student scheme for a very expensive & expansive semester, and now the two missions are almalgamated. I am wondering if she will find out very soon that she is serving in BOTH areas on her mission!

Kent said...

Hello Anziani e sorelli, I served as one of the first missionaries in Italy. In 1965 Italy was under the jurisdiction of the Swiss mission. I was transferred to Italy on 1 Jan 1965. I served in Torino, Bologna, Palermo, Messina, and Firenze. I taught Italian to new missionaries from the states before Italian was taught at the MTC. I was with the group of missionaries that climbed a hill near Torre Pelice with Elder E T Benson, when he dedicated Italy as one mission. I was in the flood in Firenze. Amazing how things have changed there in the last few years. My wife and I are now putting in our papers to serve a couple mission. Hopefully we will go to Italy, maybe to Rome to serve there in the temple. Ciao and tante cose! Kent Hauck

tuidi said...

Cari saluti a chisachi,

I've got to break in here. I know this is moderated and that this will not be posted, but it is at least my privilege to speak to whoever it is and have a say at this.

I went on a mission to Italy in 1969 when it was one mission, merely The Italian Mission." I returned in 1971, after quite a bit of success. There was so much success that they divided it into two, the Italy Milan and Italy Rome missions. They had some success, too, and two became three. Most of the success was in the south, though, and three became four.

Then something happened: The success of the 60s and 70s passed, and European conversions to Mormonism crashed. The Internet generation made it worse; the Internet actually sealed the deal. The church is in decline in the developed world as more and more people, including Mormons like myself, discover the enlightening knowledge about Joseph Smith, early church history, and the origins of Mormonism that are quite disturbing. None of this is "anti-Mormon" material, either. It's just historical church stuff. People then lose their belief and leave. Investigators tell the missionaries they're not interested. The church then moves on to less developed places, like Yaounde, Cameroon, or Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. They win lots of converts, but the tithe-paying North Americans and Europeans falter and leave. Missions are closed. In 2002 the Padova mission closes. Church leaders are red-faced, but call it a success. Then the Catania mission is forced into closure. More success.

When there were once eight missions in the German speaking countries, there are now only three. In fact, one mission serves all of southern German, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland. This is decidedly NOT progress. Your mission president's words, "We have arrived at a point in Italy where the need for three missions is no longer necessary. For this reason, the First Presidency has determined that the number of missions in Italy will be reduced from three to two..." are the Doublespeak of Orwell's book, "1984." I'm unsure myself whether he believes it or is feeding you a line dictated by church HQ.

Anyway, I understand the church's need to polish the turd and not look ridiculous, but do not allow yourself to be deceived. Businesses do not consolidate because they are experiencing success and growth.


Mike Tweedy

Rohan Patullo said...

Hi Mike,

I was blessed to be a missionary for the Church in the Milan Mission from 2009 - 2011, and I know that it may seem to be that the Church i sslowing down, but I know that it is to the contrary, when I was there, we were blessed with many baptisms, mostly Italians that are joining the Church, because they have felt the Spirit tell them the truth. I know that their is a lot of things on the net than can distract us from feeling, but I know that if we desire that we can truly know that this is the Lord's Church, that to know that the Church is true isn't to merely rely on facts, but to feel with the Spirit, this Church is so true, new Stakes are being added in Italy, Wards are being created, this is not a Church in decline, but the kingdom of God moving fourth as prophesied by Joseph Smith, and it shall not stop, it shall roll fourth until the Saviour will come again,


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