Moysés Azevedo, founder of the Shalom Catholic Community, gave his testimony at the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress (NEK2020) this past Wednesday 8th september.
“Dicsértessék a Jézus Krisztus”is how Moysés begins, taking a chance on Hungarian and greeting those present at the NEK2020. “Praised be Our Lord Jesus Christ”, as he says this, he is applauded again and with a smile of hope, he shows the joy of being on that stage to share about the Foundation of the Shalom Catholic Community.
In his testimony, Moysés said that was very happy to be present and celebrate with the Church the International Eucharistic Congress 2021. “Celebrating a Eucharistic Congress is always an opportunity to renew our Faith, and particularly for me, is to go back to the founding experience of the Shalom Community”, says Moysés.
Actually, the importance of his presence at the event encourages and inflames the desire to renew the consecration of life to the Shalom vocation, in all the members who were at this sublime moment, in person or virtual.
Also read: Moysés confirmed his attendance at NEK2020 in Hungary
The joy of being a witness
Moyses shared his testimony dividing it into four principles: the beginning of Shalom in the Eucharist; the snack bar to evangelize; the experience in this time of pandemic; and go to meet the “Thomas of this time”.
“I offer my life and my youth to evangelize with boldness, creativity and parrhesia. At the feet of Peter’s successor, before the Eucharistic altar, the Catholic Shalom community was born”.
On this day, July 9th 1980, that audacious young man started a new project of evangelization for Fortaleza, a city in the northeast of Brazil and exactly two years later he inaugurated the “Shalom Snack Bar”.
Food for the body and soul
A snack bar to evangelize, where each dish in the menu had a religious name. This was the creative idea the first members had to enter the heart of those who hungered for bread, but also for the things of God.
The food was always served with joy at the table and the young waiter evangelized another young people, presenting the love of God with the taste of cheese, hamburger and bread. “The offer of our life mysteriously attracted the strength of the Spirit, a spiritual fire that, burning in the wood of our fragility, urged us to service and mission. As Saint Ephrem says when speaking of the Eucharist: Whoever eats this bread eats fire!”
As time went by, the young people evangelized not only the young people, but also the families, and thus the Community started to take shape, to have visible faces and identity. And it was already possible to see a community life, with prayer, work and the desire to continue this evangelization.
“I can say that the synthesis of this entire Work of God, which revealed himself as Charism and which reached our life and works through it, is the word spoken by the lips of the Risen Jesus: Shalom. Thus, the Lord gives us the gift of his true presence and the power of his resurrection, breathing his Spirit of life (cf. Jn 20:19).”
The pandemic did not stop the work
Moysés Azevedo also spoke about the new challenges in this time of pandemic. Several members of the community fell ill, but noticed that others were suffering much more, like the brothers and sisters living on the streets.
“What would happen to those who were abandoned? However, they are also members of our family, as we know as disciples of Jesus Christ that each member of the human family belongs to us, we are children of the same Father”, reports the founder.
By helping, the members of the Shalom Community have realized that not only are the poorest in need of help, but there is a reciprocal relationship so that the poorest and the most rejected in society have become true treasures for the members of the Christian community.
In this way, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Community began new projects to meet those in greatest need, and to continue evangelizing with boldness and parrhesia.
–Get toknow the Friend of the Poor Project-
The touch that awakens life
Moyses quotes Saint Thomas, one of the apostles who, according to the gospels, only really believed in the resurrection when he touched Jesus’ wounds. “From unbelief he became the confessor of the perfect faith: ‘My Lord and my God,’” he reports. Sometimes we are “Thomases” of this time, but we are fed by Christ who presents himself in the Eucharist, feeding and satisfying the needs of the soul.
To be Shalom is to bring the peace of a Risen Jesus who passed through the cross, and thus announce the joy of salvation. By pronouncing “Shalom”, he shows his “open side”. This “open side” becomes the place of the true Peace that the human heart seeks, the only and true source of life and fullness of Happiness.
“Nourished by the Eucharist, we become members of his resurrected body in this world, so that the “Thomases” of our time, those who are far from Christ and the Church, listening to our voice, may be reached by our gaze and have an experience with the Eucharist ”, quotes Moyses.
When touching on this open side of the Lord, we can have a strong experience with the Risen One who passed through the Cross, which motivates us to lead others to have this same experience. In this way, the goal of the Shalom Catholic Community is to show the young, alive and active face of the Church.
The Youth is the “now” of God.
Moysés Azevedo remembered that on Wednesday 8th, one day before his preaching, the nativity of the Virgin Mary was celebrated. Therefore, he asked the young people present to go to the image of Our Lady beside the Cross, near the stage and there to renew the call to be witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ in today’s world.
Young people before the Cross and the icon of Our Lady (Image/Reproduction)
Dóra Jankovszki, 23 years old, Hungarian, is currently a postulant of the Shalom Life Community in Budapest. She was sent to Teresina (PI), but is waiting for her visa to go on mission. Dóra was present at the event and could hear Moysés’ testimony at NEK2020. And tells how was the experience:
“It was very special, I felt the same experience that Moysés had in 1982. I felt very grateful with God for being able to live this moment listening to the founder here giving his testimony to us, to Europe and to the Hungarian people”, reports the young woman.
Dóra Jankovszki, Postulant of Life Community in Budapest.
“It was a wonderful experience when he asked us to go ahead and offer our lives as well,” says Dóra, who says she can’t imagine a happier life than a missionary life. “Offering my life for God, for the youth and for all mankind” For me, is a great gift of God the fact of being chosen by Him and be able to be an answer to the world”
Finally, the young people who were close to the cross with the relics of the Hungarian saints said a prayer of renewal and received a blessing from the Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő.