Bye, Mom, I’m going to Shalom! Is there Mass at Shalom tomorrow? My Prayer group is from Shalom. I attended a Shalom retreat, it was a great! I left adoration and went to have some coffee at the Shalom diner. This song belongs to Shalom, right? So-and-so is consecrated of Shalom. Shalom here, Shalom there … And so let’s get acquainted, when we want to refer to the Shalom Catholic Community in its events, retreats, prayer groups, evangelization center, bookstore, consecrated, lifestyle, charism and so many realities lived in every dimension of the Community
But do you know why the name Shalom and how this name came to be for our Community? Are you curious? So follow the story from the beginning.
It all started in 1972. That’s right! At the time, D. Delgado, Archbishop of Fortaleza, together with his auxiliary bishop Miguel Câmara, who were concerned about the situation of the young people in the city, decided to carry out a work of evangelization with the youth through meetings and prayer groups. In order to begin the Youth Encounter movement of the Archdiocese of Fortaleza, Brother Maurício Labonté, Canadian missionary of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart, was summoned.
The meetings aimed to awaken the faith in the youth, with lectures on the values of the Gospel. Jesus was presented as a very close friend. Young Catholics and parishes in the city participated in the weekend gatherings, where the seed was planted into the hearts of many, resulting in groups of young people also in colleges and parishes.
And what does all this story have to do with the name of Shalom Catholic Community, for God’s sake?
Four years later, in 1976, the young student Moysés Azevedo, when participating in the meeting of young people, had his personal encounter with Jesus. Such a meeting radically changed his life to the point where he made commitments not only to the Church, but to the youth of the Movement of the Archdiocese and to the youth group of the college he was studying at.
As time went on, the experience with God’s love and the living of the Gospel deepened, especially after the grace of Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCRC), further strengthening the prayer-life journey and apostolic activity.
In 1980, Moysés offers a gift to Pope John Paul II, who makes a visit to Fortaleza to take care of the evangelization of abandoned youths. With an ardent desire to evangelize and to become even more committed to God, to others, bringing to the youth the life of Jesus and the experience of the Spirit, the inspiration of the snack bar is born in the heart of the future founder of the Shalom Community.
But what about name Shalom?
Easy … Well! Every time Moysés heard the Canadian missionary, Brother Mauricio, talking about a “Christian Café” in Canada, where couples evangelized young drug addicts along the side of the road, their hearts flared inwardly and each day he was more inspired to do something similar for the youth of Fortaleza.
In the Writings of the Catholic Community Shalom the founder himself says:
“It was Saturday night. I was at home getting ready to go to the birthday party of one of the brothers in the group, when the inspiration came clearer and stronger still: THE THINGS OF THE WORLD WORK OUT! WHY NOT GOD’S? IF THIS IDEA COMES FROM GOD, WHY WOULDN’T IT WORK? “
And then … tell me!
When he arrived at the party, without the intention or the courage to share anything with anyone, he was very thoughtful, which caught the attention of some friends, so he decided to shared his idea timidly. The diner was the subject of the birthday, everyone was talking about it excitedly.
At some point someone asked, “What will the name be?” Taken by surprise, he replied, without thinking: “SHALOM! “.
At that moment the young Moysés had no awareness of what the Lord spoke through his mouth and that He inspired, with the word “Shalom” a whole vocation.
It was God, man!
The Shalom Catholic Community was inaugurated on July 9, 1982, with the presence of the Archbishop of Fortaleza D. Aloísio Lorscheider, with canonical recognition of the Community Statutes with status of the Private Association of Faithful, in ad experimentum for a period of 07 years held on April 14, 1998 by D. Claudio Hummes, who was the Archbishop of Fortaleza at the time.
Today the Shalom Catholic Community is an International Private Association of Faithful, with legal identity, recognized by the Holy See with the decree of February 22, 2007, together with the then Pontifical Council for the Laity (whose competences and functions are currently assumed by the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life). On the same date, in 2012, its statutes had their final approval.
The word “SHALOM” means that the Peace of which its members seek to be ministers and disciples is the fullness of Peace in the Hebrew sense of the word. For the Shalom Community, Peace is Jesus!
And they were happy on the way of and to happiness towards “forever“!
Translation: Ellen Bia