HungaRio is the creative name given to a party hosted by Shalom Catholic Community in Budapest, Hungary’s capital. The party, as the name says, combines a little of Hungary and a little of Rio, the famous Brazilian metropolis. Numerous young people are drawn to the party that takes place every three months. This is the result of collaboration between the Archdiocese of Budapest and the Shalom Community, inspired by the historic “evangelizing snack bar” which marked the foundation of the Community in 1982.
According to the missionaries of Shalom Mission in Budapest, the initiative was born two and a half years after the Community first came to the city. The Archdiocese was willing to rent a bar where the Community could create a pole of attraction for young people and where the missionaries, helped by other young people who had recently known the Community, could meet others and establish a close relationship. From this friendship, there were other invitations to know more about the Community and their missionaries such as where they live and some of the evangelizing work they do. The young people are also invited to participate in spiritual retreats and other meetings that can help them to grow in their faith.
Carolina Costa, missionary of Shalom Community in Budapest, is one of the creators of HungaRio. On the event’s success formula, she says – “having young people evangelizing other young people… that’s the secret! We have seen, right from the beginning, a great engagement of the young people who were already part of our prayer groups. They were all involved in the event and very happy to bring this good news to Budapest“. Carolina adds – “In fact, they, the youngsters, were the ones who planned the whole party. We, the missionaries, offered them support and helped out in what was needed. That is the big secret of our evangelizing journey here in the Hungarian capital.”
HungaRio offers music, dance, theatre performances, games and an occasion for chat among the young people. There is also a very important personal invitation during the party: to participate in a spiritual weekend. Carolina says that many young people end up taking this ‘leap of faith’ and participating in spiritual gatherings, especially when they see that other young people, part of Shalom Youth, didn’t lose their joy and youth when they decided to live the novelty of the Gospel. Instead, they begin to live a more fulfilling life and to bear a joyful testimony.
In early 2015, due to this dynamic engagement of the young people, another initiative took place in Shalom Budapest Mission: a ‘mobile library’ and an ‘icon workshop’. The first was inspired by the thirst for Christian formation among those who were new to the faith. The later came as a way to encourage young people to grow in the path of prayer.
Today, a small group meet every Wednesday for the manufacturing of new icons led by Anderson Silva, also a Shalom missionary in Budapest. These are high-quality icons printed and mounted on wood. Religious icons are important elements in the practice of the Catholic faith, designed especially for prayer and are widely used in the Shalom Community’s spirituality.
The creativity of these young people have recently led them to add other items to their workshop such as fridge magnets with Christian quotes and prayer notebooks. They are all called “gifts that evangelize”. The products are taken to parishes and Catholic events where the ‘Shalom Band’ of music and dance performs both in the capital and in the countryside.
On the mobile library, Anderson explains that during the cold Hungarian winter the library serves as an invitation for those who want to have some tea and chat – “It’s our way of having tea together, not only to sell our products but to establish new contacts for our evangelizing service and thus reach other young people”.