The founder of the Shalom Catholic Community, Moysés Azevedo, took part in a private audience with Pope Francis last Monday April 25th. The meeting, held in the Vatican, was the occasion to invite the Holy Father to the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Shalom Catholic Community and to share the experiences of the Community in the Shalom Friend of the Poor project, which was born as an evangelization initiative in the midst of the pandemic.
“The Holy Father welcomed our request with great affection. In September, with the grace of God, we will have our pilgrimage to Rome and the Convention of our 40th anniversary to renew the offering of our lives at the feet of Peter’s successor”, explains Moysés.
The Shalom Community, which was born at the feet of Pope John Paul II, has the tradition to go on pilgrimage to Rome every five years to renew the life offering before Peter’s successor. According to Moysés, the celebration of the Shalom Convention in Rome this year also depends on the improvement of sanitary conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The theme chosen for this year is “Friends of God, Friends of the Youth and Friends of the Poor”.
Moysés had the opportunity to give a very special gift to the Pope: an icon of Our Lady of Marajoara and a book of the Shalom Friend of the Poor Project activities.
The founder of the Shalom Community gave Pope Francis a book on the activities of the Shalom Friend of the Poor Project.
“Having the poor as friends has always been present in the history of the Community, but in this time of pandemic it has become a stronger experience. It has been an opportunity of a deeper conversion that the Lord has made in us. The emergence of the Shalom Friend of the Poor Project certainly generated in the Community a whole movement to meet those who suffer, and not only meet them but become friends with them. We were having this experience in different places, such as Fortaleza, on the Island of Marajós, at the”Educational Space of Peace”, on the island of Madagascar and in the various activities with the refugees from the war in Europe. I had the opportunity to show an album that illustrates this experience of the encounter with God, with the young and with the poor”.
Book and Icon
In addition to the book, Moysés gave the Pope with the icon of Our Lady of Marajoara, written for the Educational Space of Peace in Chaves on the Island of Marajó, Pará. The mission of this Space is to be a place to educate children and young people who live in a vulnerable situation due to poverty in the region. “The icon represents Our Lady with the features of the people of Marajó and with the infant Jesus in her arms”.
The icon was written by the Life Community missionary Eduardo Silva.
(Picture by Comshalom)
Word of the Pope to the members of the Shalom Community
This is the third time that Moysés Azevedo has met Pope Francis in a private audience. On all occasions, the founder of the Shalom Community asked for a word from the Pontiff to all the members of the Shalom Family. “The first time, he said: ‘Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel.’ The second time, in 2016, before the Convention in 2017, he emphasized on the word “Consolidate”, and talked about the importance of consolidating the experience of the gospel and the experience of the Charism.”
Before expressing the word of guidance this time, the Pontiff wanted to know about the spread of the Shalom Charism. According to Moysés, the presence of the Community is found today in 33 countries and has 1,500 Life Community missionaries and about 10,000 Covenant Community missionaries, apart from the current members of the Shalom Work.
“You have grown so much! Praise be to God – the Holy Father remarked. This is a gift from God! ‘ and for this very reason and in order to preserve the work of God, he encouraged us to cultivate the gift of “Humility”. This was the word he gave us: “Preserve, protect, care for the Work of God through the gift of humility. To cooperate with the work of God it is indispensable to cultivate a meek and humble heart like that of Jesus Christ”, says Moysés.
(Picture by Comshalom)
For Moysés, Francis’ word confirms the Marian presence during the audience.“The presence of Mary in this meeting with the Pope was very special for me. The humility of Jesus and the humility of Mary who is all small and humble, all transparent, and in all things, points out to Her Son Jesus Christ “.
Check out Moysés’ message to Vatican News