Rome Italy. The title of this meeting was “In Europe towards a new synodal style of pastoral work with young people, inspired by the Synod and the apostolic exhortation of Pope “Christus vivit“.
The participants arrived at the meeting place on May 27, 2019 throughout the afternoon. After the initial greetings they celebrated the Eucharist, which was presided by the Delegation of Italy. After her they had the first dinner and the presentation of the assistants. In total there were 19 Claretian Missionaries from different European countries: Slovenia, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
On the 28th they began the day with the Eucharist at 7:30 am, presided by Joseph Raju CMF, a newly ordained priest from the Province of Fatima. The first of the talks was given by Professor Emilia Palladino, from the Social Sciences Department of the Gregorian University. She offered them a broad vision of the subjects that move the evangelizing action, the “millennials” (name by which the generation of young people between 18 and 36 years old is known). And he related it to the exhortation “Christus vivit” by Pope Francis.
The second talk was given by Fr. Maurizio Bevilacqua, CMF, professor of the Claretianum, who shared with those present some underlining of the exhortation “Christus vivit” relating them to the Consecrated Life. In the afternoon session group meetings were held to share the echoes of what was heard during the morning that were remarkably interesting. After a pause there was a dialogue about the conclusions of last November’s meeting in Rome on the YVM of the Claretian Family, trying to concretize some of the conclusions mentioned there. The afternoon ended with a vocational rosary led by Fr. Lambert CMF, and after dinner, they enjoyed a time of fraternal conviviality.
On May 29, the Province of Santiago presided over the prayer of the lauds and the eucharist. In the first session of the morning they were accompanied by Fr. Roberto De Luca OFM, who had participated in the Synod on young people and who gave them a list of what seemed most important to them in the exhortation “Christus vivit”. After the talk there was a very enriching dialogue.
After lunch and rest, Fr. Branco Cestnik, CMF, who works in Slovenia, presented the different religious trends in Europe based on his pastoral experience. After a rest, they discussed in depth the different projects to implement at the level of Claretian Family in YVM: personal accompaniment, online course, missionary experience, Claretian youth movement … Before each dinner, each Major Organism presented what they have been doing in the formation of YVM Agents. Finally, the date and place of next year’s meeting was established, which will be organized by the Province of Santiago in the last week of May and which will focus on the connection of family pastoral with youth ministry.
After dinner they were visited by two young people from Rome, Giovanni and Lisa, who work in the Youth Ministry with Fr. Lambert, CMF. They had with them an exchange of experiences and concerns about youth in Rome and in Europe. Some of the attendees had the opportunity to visit the Vatican City and were able to enjoy “Rome by night”.
On the 30th they went on a pilgrimage to the Franciscan places of Rieti, about 2 hours from Rome, where they visited several Franciscan minor sanctuaries: Greccio, Poggio Bustone and Fonte Colombo. They celebrated the Eucharist in one of them and around 6.30 pm they returned to the residence. At the dinner they were accompanied by Father General, Mathew Vattamattam, CMF, with whom they were able to share a moment of conversation, in which he encouraged them in the missionary vocation to serve young people in a vocational way.
The next morning, one by one returned to their places of origin with renewed hope to continue in the missionary effort with the younger ones. The participants are especially grateful to the Delegation of Italy for their welcome and the care with which they prepared this meeting. United in the Heart of Mary, it is necessary to give thanks for the fraternity lived these days and for sharing the missionary concerns and hopes