My name is Carmela and I am from Canada. My journey with Shalom began in 2013. I was on a bus to downtown Rio during World Youth Day. The young girl sitting next to me didn’t seem to know English, but she handed me a flyer for Shalom’s upcoming concert. I wasn’t able to make it to the concert, but little by little from Missionary Week to World Youth Day itself I was being introduced to Shalom.
When I got home from World Youth Day I felt that God was calling me to take Pastoral Studies at the Jesuit college a few provinces away. While I was there I met over a hundred Brazilians, some of whom went to Mass with me. We were able to ask the parish on campus to let us have one Brazilian Mass. We sang some songs from Shalom. During that time I continued learning Shalom songs and Portuguese from my friends. I translated “Se Tiveres a Deus” from Portuguese to English.
A few years later a friend from my host parish from Missionary Week stayed with the Shalom community in Rome. While he was there he met a missionary from Budapest named Anderson who wanted to improve his English. We were introduced and I learned from Anderson about how life at the mission house was. He also put me in touch with the only Shalom community in Canada – several provinces away from my home. From then on I had spiritual accompaniment every so often with one of the missionaries in Canada and I began helping the Shalom community with translation.
The time came to prepare for World Youth Day 2019 in Panama. I just had to go with Shalom. The Toronto house put me in touch with the World Youth Day group leader, a lovely postulant named Mylene. It was amazing to attend World Youth Day with Shalom. I finally met Shalom members in person. The sweet girls at the dorm sang songs together. We played Uno. I had to speak Portuguese. There were only 3 of us from Shalom Canada at World Youth Day in Panama, but our presence was known. We went to all the Halleluya events and attended Shalom Mass and adoration. What a blessing!
On one day when I had no one else to hang out with I was allowed to accompany Mylene backstage at Halleluya because she had been called to be a presenter. Instead of following along with the live stream online I was right there seeing the team broadcast and do interviews. It was a blessing to meet the other missionaries who treated me like a little sister. Recently Mylene was called to Brazil. She invited me to join Shalom’s new online prayer group for people who cannot attend Shalom events in their city.
Finally after years, I am experiencing what it’s like to attend prayer group because Toronto is 5 hours away by plane. It is a blessing to recharge my spiritual batteries each week with my international Shalom family. The Bible study is also giving me strength to get through busy and challenging times. I have found my spiritual home: Shalom.
God reaches you where you are! Let’s be part of this family!
SHALOM ONLINE PRAYER GROUP: every Sunday with young people from all over the world.