“My dear young ones, be in the front line in this arduous task of building peace in the world”, said Cardinal Rylko to the young people attending the Shalom Youth Congress (SYC or CJS, read more Here). Encouraged by the power of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the Church, nearly 300 young people from Shalom Catholic Community of 17 countries have gathered in Evry, 30km from Paris, to pray for world peace.
SYC begun with a Vigil for Peace under the theme taken from the gospel’s Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”. “We are here to weep with those who weep, to suffer with those who suffer”, said Deacon Cristiano Pinheiro, one of the organisers of SYC. During the vigil, the young participants were able to pray in their own language before the Cross, praying thus for peace. Among them, there were young people from places such as Holy Land, Algeria and Hungary.
Evangelization through the arts
On Saturday evening, the participants saw the play “Chant of the Irias” (from the original “Canto das Irias”, in Portuguese) which speaks about true peace that is not only the absence of wars but peace that comes from the Risen Christ who sets man free from the slavery of sin and gives His Peace, the “Shalom” (Jo:20,19). “The Chant of the Irias tells about the experience of man who after he was born was driven away from the Truth and thus loses his identity, becoming empty and unhappy. Although distant, this man is reached and rescued by the Truth who loves him and never give up on him”, said Joao Carlos do Nascimento, missionary member of Shalom Community in Germany and who organised the performance. About the play that have been performed many times in Brazil and is now in its French edition he adds, “The performance have contributed in the young european’s experience with the Risen Jesus (…) I experienced the grace of God which surpasses all cultural and language borders and communicate itself with the heart of the young people who, despite speaking other languages, recognizes universal and unconditional love that comes from God’s heart”.
Joy in serving
The event was highlighted by a spirit of praise and joy. By the end of the event, the faces of the young people were resplendent. Joy was also evident in the young missionaries who were serving and organizing the event, “everyone was giving their best, despite coming from different countries and having so many cultural differences we all had one heart, one aim: to offer each young people gathered there a personal experience with the Risen Christ”, said Rafael Araujo, missionary of Shalom Community in Switzerland.
Multicultural – “there were no borders, the same faith made us one”
Dante Alighieri, Polish and Arabic folk dances, music from Hungary, Spain and Portugal all had their share at the YouthFest, a multicultural area in SYC where the young people were able to present something of their country’s culture and share their experiences of faith in each country. “The intention was to promote communion through the differences, this is a way to promote peace”, said Ana Karina Nunes, organiser of this area, “there were no borders for mutual knowledge, despite all cultural and historical differences, the same faith made us one”, she adds.
A real Pentecost
The multiplicity of languages and the work of the Holy Spirit in such an intense and effusive way recalled a “true Pentecost” for those who were there at SYC. At the end of the event the young people were encouraged to take that experience back home to their countries.
Following the Beatitudes we are now heading to Krakow
The next meeting of Shalom’s youth, as they continue on the way of the Beatitudes, will be in Krakow 2016 at World Youth Day which has as its theme “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy”. There, on the 2nd of August at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow, the Community will held the International Meeting of Shalom’s Youth.