For the past 38 years secondary school students from Abruzzo and the surrounding area have met for a day of celebration in the Sanctuary of San Gabriele dell’Addolorata in the province of Teramo. They make the journey to mark the 100 day countdown until their high school diploma exam.
This tradition was born accidentally in March of 1980, when a small group of young people skipped school and instead opted to go to the sanctuary exactly 100 days before the fateful high school exit exam. Their intentions were good.
When the priest asked them why they were there that morning, they replied, “We came to pray to St. Gabriel for our final exam.” Thus, the tradition was born. Students from the entire region meet in the square of the Sanctuary exactly 100 days before the exam every year.
In 2018, March 12th marks the date when students will begin the countdown towards the exam and one of the most important moments in the life of every high school student.
Besides the Holy Mass, the fundamental moment of the day is surely the blessing of the pens that the students will use over the course of their exams; a gesture that symbolizes the connection between the students and Saint Gabriel. The hope is that he will provide protection and guidance as they face their tests.
10 thousand high school students from all over Abruzzo and the Marche regions invade the sanctuary plaza every year arriving in over one hundred buses and hundreds of private cars. Why here? Why Saint Gabriel?
Gabriele dell’Addolorata was a young student continuing his studies in theology and philosophy despite the fact that he had already made his decision to enter into the priesthood. Sadly, he died before he could complete the studies he needed to prepare for the priesthood. The young, faithful Abruzzese maintain their relationship with him, and see him as a companion and friend along their journey.
photo copyrights: skuola.net