Go Without Fear and Serve
August 21, 2013
World Youth Day was an invitation to intensify our faith in Jesus Christ. We prepared for this big event with months of study of the documents of the Church on the topics of evangelization and youth. We participated in the missionary week (the week that preceded the WYD), which had as its aim to give the pilgrims from other countries the opportunity to come to know the reality of Brazilian communities through the axis of faith, solidarity and culture.
The participation in WYD was a most beautiful opportunity for sharing, strengthening and reinvigorating faith, a strong moment to renew life and to nurture our spirituality. This meeting was a visible sign that Catholic youth are committed to evangelization and not afraid to move forward.
There were innumerable manifestations of living faith during this time. Formative moments such as celebration, sacrifices, worship and prayers made us experience the happiness of following the missionary Jesus. Special moments included catechesis given in different languages so that each young person could pray in his/her own language. There was one Spirit acting in all hearts.
The highlight of this experience was certainly the presence and witness of Pope Francis. He touched our hearts. Each activity involving his participation drew great crowds. His simple and warm manner taught us to reach out and put ourselves in the place of others, welcoming their reality with love. His words are challenging and send us on mission in the midst of the reality of the youth.
An important part of the WYD was the vocation exhibit which gathered representatives from many congregations and institutions at Quinta da Boa Vista. This exhibit allowed the attendance of pilgrims of many nationalities. Despite the rain and cold, it was possible to see in their faces the happiness, enthusiasm and faith which motivated them to participate in the WYD. For us, the company of our Indian and Indonesian Sisters was very enjoyable and challenging regarding communication. However, their shared experiences and customs certainly enriched us.
Returning from the WYD, the luggage of the pilgrim, besides the memories, books and materials from the WYD, holds the certainty that young people pray and search for the transcendent. We have the responsibility to give opportunities to young people to enter into contact with the Word of God and to feel His love. May the lived experience of the WYD make us missionaries to young people and impel us to make the good God more known and loved by young people.
We are grateful to the Sisters in the Province of Our Lady Aparecida for the opportunity to participate in this WYD and we are also grateful to the Sisters of Colégio Notre Dame Ipanema who were untiring in offering us all that could facilitate our participation in this great event. The experience of participating in the WYD in Rio de Janeiro is a new impetus for us to take on the challenging mission to “go and make disciples”.