One of the most emphasized conclusions of the recent Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment was the need to turn missionary initiatives and projects FOR young people into missionary initiatives and projects WITH young people. Underlining the need to tag along with Jesus, together. Side by side. As partners. As disciples of Emmaus.
In Poland we were given the chance to see that happening. In the various cities and communities we have come to know, we had several meetings with different groups of young people. All of them in high spirits. All of them with tables laden with food. All of them with celebration and prayer for starters.
We have been with young college students, young workers, young adult couples, and newly formed families. Everyone is looking for more than what the days alone offer. Everyone is making the missionary commitment that stems from Baptism.
In Krakow we talked with members of the group DA Na Górce (On the Hill). Each day of the week offers a different meeting proposal, which is meant for different people. On Sundays, after the celebration people stay behind just to hang out. That’s what we did too. The same is true of the university pastoral group in Toruń. A cup of tea and a conversation in a “safe place,” as Isa told us. Where the conversation flows free of any judgment. In Wroclaw we shared some time with one of the groups belonging to the DA Redemptor (the Plentiful Redemption group). We had an open conversation sharing different social and ecclesial realities and we realized what these realities implicate in forming each other’s identities.
Everywhere our confreres guide and give support. They are close. And they make their way together.
The same goes for the School of Evangelization with whose members we prayed. Such is the example of Zespól Misyjny “WSCHÓD” (Missionary Association “EAST”), which, every year, prepares summer camps for the abandoned and deprived populations in parishes of Eastern Europe. Namely, in countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. Lay people and religious go together on mission. Their purpose: to proclaim the Gospel to children and young people. In their suitcases they carry clothes and toys. They are close. In Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Lithuania, Ukraine. They prepare themselves during the year for the summer months. We were together at a night in Tuchów and the conversation was enthusiastic. Year after year, since 1991, they feel they are making a difference. And there is even a confrere of ours who was one of those many children in one of those countries, in one of those summers. “That’s where it all started…”
The Spirit is at work. In all directions, places and ages. Here we’ve found collaborators. Collaborators who are close.
We’ll see you around,
Zé ku Teresa