With building anticipation for the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple scheduled to get underway beginning tomorrow morning with the public cornerstone ceremony, hundreds of youth packed a stake center on the campus of the soon-to-be-christened temple. When dedicated it will be the 162nd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In what is becoming a tradition on the eve of a temple dedication under the presidency of Russell M. Nelson, he and his wife, Wendy, along with President Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, addressed the standing-room-only crowd.
“We love you and we love being with you on this historic evening. This is the evening before the Lord’s first temple in Rome will be dedicated,” said Sister Wendy Nelson.
President Ballard added, “I want to testify to you that God’s love for you, my beloved young people, it’s real. You are His sons and His daughters. He loves you. He wants to bless you. The Lord has given you a beautiful temple.”
President Nelson said, “The thought occurred to me now that we have a temple in Rome: Your friends will watch you more than they ever have before.”
One youth who planned to attend the devotional had an extraordinary experience earlier in the day. “I traveled six hours to be here today,” said 15-year-old Christian D’Onofrio. “We were walking around the Vatican City and I saw the prophet doing interviews. I was lucky, very lucky. I found the prophet and I [was able] to meet him face to face. It was really incredible, and I am so happy. I’ve never seen a prophet like that face to face, so I am really impressed by his spirit and by him personally.”
In an interview with Church media following the devotional, President Ballard concluded, “The future of the Church in Italy is going to be tremendous. And what a thrill to have them so excited to have a temple here in Rome.”