Responding to the invitation of Pope Francis to continue together in the spiritual pilgrimage that leads us towards World Youth Day Lisbon 2023, from November 12 to 14, the Shalom Youth Congress (CJS) deepened the theme of the last message of preparation for WYD 2023: “Get up, I have made you a witness of what you saw” (cf. At 26:13)
The CJS is an event that takes place annually for over 20 years. It brings together young people who participate in prayer groups and also leaders of other ecclesial movements. It stands out not only for the moments of formation, but also of prayer and sharing.
The common experience transmitted by several generations is the creation of fraternal ties, the renewal of the experience with the love of God, beyond a true vocational awakening.
At last I have found my calling
Those words of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, intercessor of the Shalom youth, reflect the joy of the encounter with her own vocation. Saint Therese, who chose consecrated life in the early years of her youth, is an example and model for all young people who wish to embrace that plan of God’s love, unique and unrepeatable, as Saint John Paul II would say.
The CJS was an amazing experience! For me, the most impressive moment was that of adoration. Seeing “the Eucharistic Christ”, being able to contemplate and hear him is something that cannot be described.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the desire to fulfill my mission as a baptized person – that is, to seek holiness – is a desire that arises from the heart of God. And, it is in that moment that I can experience that real desire, a real search for happiness that is only found in the Eucharist, in the search for heaven. If I could define this Congress in one word, I would define it as: Happiness. “Declares José Vitor Rondis, CJS participant.
For Monaliza Rocha, who is a member of the Youth Advisory, a sector of the General Government of the Shalom Community responsible for young people, the CJS stood out for the strong appeal to holiness, reinforced by the moment of the testimony of the mother of Blessed Carlo Acutis.
“The most special moment of the CJS for me was the prayer next to the Cross. It was a moment of renewal of my offering of life in favor of the evangelization of young people.“
As a step in the spiritual pilgrimage that will culminate in WYD in Lisbon, reflecting together on the testimony that comes from a personal encounter with Christ was an important step. Allowing oneself to be encouraged by the witness of one another, expanding the capacity to hear the voice of the Lord were, without a doubt, important steps on the spiritual path that leads to the Day that calls for a hasty departure (Lk 1, 39) on mission to be testimonies of the Risen One who passed through the cross.