By Ms. Daniela Baggi
We celebrated the 32nd Eurocamp from July 30th to August 6th 2017, in Coatbridge, near Glasgow, at the Conforti Institute (Centre for “European Dialogue” for Saverian Missionary Youth), thanks to the precious collaboration and enthusiasm of Maria Novani, Mishal and other Scottish youth. Even though there were Italians, French, Spanish and German, the majority of participants were local; there were also a priest and two adult animators coming from Pakistan, who have heard of the Eurocamp from Mishal and wanted to live this experience so they can take it to their parishes. With their joyous and serene presence, they helped us to question ourselves and understand more the difficulty of Christians who, living in countries with an Islamic majority, are subjected to violence, torture, prison and terrorist attacks to force them to abandon their faith to convert to Islam.
Again, this year, the first two days of the camp were dedicated to meeting each other and examining everyone’s personal situation and journey of faith. At the homily of the first Mass, Monday 31 July, Fr Maurizio, referring to the daily readings, underlined that “the Eurocamp is an occasion – among others – to verify the thoughts and desires of our heart. It is, from the beginning, an experience that invites us to look inside ourselves, to read our lives in the light of the Eucharist, to return to daily life transformed by the strength of God’s love, that is manifest in the Eucharist …. Beyond the mirror we find again the mustard seed and that pinch of yeast as the “logic” of life that opens up an unexpected future…”.
For the journey in the desert, Tuesday, we were at Carfin Grotto, one of the most important British Marian sanctuaries, in the diocese of Motherwell, in the West of Scotland. In the afternoon, we prayed a meditated rosary to get to know Mary in a better way, a young girl who, as the Gospels tells us, had her life project clear but was available to change it to respond to God’s invitation to be Jesus’ Mother. We asked her to accompany us to discover our identity and to have the courage to bring about the changes the Lord suggests us.
Wednesday, August 2nd, we visited Glasgow and in the afternoon we celebrated with the Blessed Sacrament Community present there the memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, with a Mass concelebrated by all the priests and animated by the youth of the Eurocamp, all followed by a simple supper organized by the Parish.
Thursday was dedicated entirely to the celebration of the Eucharist, to help us to understand that our whole life, everything we are and live, can be a Eucharist. In remembering Jesus’ words at the last supper “I have desired to eat the Pasch with you” we are invited to live every moment as an answer to “Jesus’ ardent desire” of letting our lives be filled with love.
“Reconciled identity” was the topic on Friday, in which, after remembering that in Baptism we received our identity as Christians, we stopped to reflect on the sacrament of reconciliation, “instrument, place of encounter with the Father, were we receive his forgiveness and, hence, recover our identity”. In the afternoon we walked the “Path of reconciliation”: a meditation to welcome God’s unconditional love, which doesn’t take into account our sins and “forgives us, not as someone who doesn’t remember, as someone who forgets evilness, as if it would have not happened and would have not offended him, but as a creator, enlarging his heart, making more room, lighting it up” (E. Ronchi). From 9 p.m. we took turns in the prayer of Eucharistic Adoration, which finished at 12:30, with all of us together. We wanted to be in Jesus’ presence to treasure all that we lived, to thank him for preparing us for the last day of the Eurocamp.
Saturday’s reflection was introduced by the reading of a passage from the book “Giada e quei Benedetti misteri della vita”, by F. Garagnon. Starting from the “pillars” of the philosophy of life belonging to little Giada (Carpe Diem, Alleluia, Eureka and a Spirit of Wonderment) we were invited to reflect over the philosophies that rule our lives, our projects and the image we desire to have of ourselves.
In the homily of our Last Mass Fr Milos, calling into mind the Gospel (Mt 17:1-9) invited us to welcome “that ‘listen to Him’ from God’s part as an invitation to embrace with strength his words, his lifestyle, to let our identity be shaped by his. Facing the temptation of staying up on the mountain, to build up tents to remain in beautiful and encouraging experiences, Jesus is the first one to descend. In the same way he comes before us, after this Camp, which in many ways resembles the experience on the mountain … He is always there, a step ahead, in our daily life, in the encounters we will live, in the challenges we will have to face … and knowing how to recognize him there, in the faces and events of our tomorrow, we shall be able to bring the strength and joy that, on the mountain, we experienced.”
Returning home, enriched by this beautiful experience, we can dedicate ourselves with more light / strength/ courage/ generosity to build up the Kingdom. Beyond the mirror, we found the newness of our selves and took up our path again – like the people in the desert – to arrive at that promised land, that is, history recreated and renewed by Jesus’ Gospel and by the Eucharist, the bread of the poor, support for the weak, strength for the wanderers.
We are already looking forward to our next Eurocamp, from July 29th to August 5th 2018, in Belgium, at Thy-le-Chateau. Until then, we say Goodbye!