The Church which goes fort

The Church which goes forth – Shalom at the universities

Learn about the evangelization actions carried out in various missions of the Shalom Community in the world aimed at university students.


Universities have always been privileged places for learning, for great discoveries and rich experiences of knowledge, but also for cultivating lasting friendships. Therefore, it is also a suitable place for an encounter with God.

Pope Benedict XVI said in 2008 at the Sapienza University of Rome, defining the nature of universities, that the thirst for knowledge is also ultimately a thirst for God.”We must ask ourselves: ‘What is the university? What is its task?’ This is a vast question to which, once again, I can only endeavour to respond in an almost telegraphic style with one or two comments. I think one could say that at the most intimate level, the true origin of the university lies in the thirst for knowledge that is proper to man. The human being wants to know what everything around him is. He wants truth.”  Therefore, in response to the call to be the Church that goes out, Shalom missionaries are dedicated to share the joy of the Gospel in the university environment. 

La Sapienza – Italy

For about 9 years now, the missionaries of the Rome mission have been going to the University of La Sapienza every Wednesday to meet with young university students. They begin the afternoon with adoration, in which some of the young students timidly participate. Then the missionaries split up and approach those who are taking a break after class, those who are waiting for their next class, or those who are simply chatting with their classmates in the courtyard.

“We always experience God’s grace during these times, because despite the years of evangelization that have taken place there, we never feel prepared. It is an adventure, we are always surprised,” says Victor Hernandez. “It is always the experience of feeling that we are the Church which goes forth, that goes forth to encounter.” Dialogue is the key to the first announcement of the Gospel, as the missionary explains: “We approach them, we ask them some questions and we listen to their desires, to their their opinions, and we share our experience.”

Recently, one of these young students was particularly touched. “We approached him and started a dialogue with him. He said, ‘it’s strange that you would approach me and share these things, but I understand what is happening to me – I feel invited to faith.’ On the last day of the year, he sent us a message saying that it had been the most special Wednesday of his year, and that he was very grateful for that encounter. We are witnesses that, indeed, it is a hard place to announce the Gospel, but at the same time it is a favorable atmosphere for the proclamation of the Gospel.”

UNICA and UNI-CV – Cape Verde 

“Since the beginning of Shalom in Cape Verde, our mission has always been associated with university students. The bishop invited us to be part of the newly created university ministry and we have addressed a large part of our activities to them,” recalls Joyce Gesuilo, who is responsible for activities with university students at the Praia mission. 

There are several initiatives directed to the university students: Masses at the beginning and end of the school year, Lenten and Advent retreats, and Life in the Holy Spirit Seminars, which include time for both prayer and kerygmatic preaching.

Each week, the missionaries dedicate themselves to evangelization in the largest university of Cape Verde. Full of creativity and parrhesia, they carry out artistic activities, in addition to encountering people one-by-one, and dedicating themselves to listening to and accompanying young people. Between classes there is also a prayer group in which they meditate on the Word of God. “Together with the pastoral ministry, we are working on a project that aims to promote the encounter with Christ through the university tripod, that is,  through teaching, research and extension,” says Joyce.

Activities with the students also take place outside the university. For example, the mission also promotes ecological hiking. About 30 students participated in the first hike, and currently there are about 50 participating.


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