At the beginning of this year, a group of 20 young Romans, together with others from various countries in Europe and the world, gathered together for a weekend in Assisi (Umbria), the city of Saint Francis, to pray and have a personal experience with Jesus Christ, within the Shalom charism.
The weekend journey was organized by the Shalom prayer group in Rome, where every Saturday at the International San Lorenzo Center young people gather to pray, share and make friends.
The theme of the retreat was: “Slaves or Sons?”. Many times, we relate to God as a master to whom we submit, rather than as children, free, loved, and who can present their needs to the Father, certain of being heard. We live more or less in conscious slavery, bound by mental chains in self-enclosed prisons, driven by the dictates of society.
During this weekend of prayer in Assisi the young people of the prayer group “El Shaddai” (in Hebrew “Powerful God”) were able to experience the Love of the Almighty Father who brings us from a life immersed in sin to Salvation and leaves us His Holy Spirit. He, as our Father, guides us and promises us a new life through a renewed Baptism in the Holy Spirit, enabling us to cultivate this experience in everyday life, growing in Grace.
The prayers which the Shalom Catholic Community offers are the Seminary of Life in the Holy Spirit, a fundamental step in the path within the charism, the so-called Way of Peace.
In these three days, the young people were able to experience intense moments of prayer, sharing, confession and encounter with God the Father. He loves us so much that He cannot leave us in the condition of slaves, but awaits us as the Father of the prodigal child, with open arms, irrespective of our failures, sins or weaknesses – eager to give us all His forgiveness and His Mercy.
On Saturday evening the young people organized a multicultural evening, with quizzes and dances from various countries. Sunday, we visited the beloved and holy places in Assisi, retracing the footsteps of Saint Francis and Santa Chiara.
In the testimony of 19-year-old Lisbeth Rivas, she describes her weekend experience:
The retreat “Slaves or Sons?” in Assisi was a new experience for me. I have been in this city many times, but I never experienced so many emotions in just three days. It helped me a lot to reflect, understand and pray together with others in the Community, which is usually difficult for me. These were days of love, joy, and sharing. All this thanks to the Lord who accompanied us on this adventure, His presence was truly great. But the best thing for me was being able to face one of my greatest fears and to go beyond limits that before seemed impossible to do. I hope there will be other truly meaningful experiences like this one, which will always remain in my best memories.
Come and experience the love of the Father with us!
International San Lorenzo Center
Translation: Jhoanna Climacosa