by P. Armindo Magalhães, sss
In the month of February we held our first Vocation Meeting for 2018 at the St Benoît Shrine with the theme “Socio-ecclesial Analysis of the country.” We began in the morning with offering a welcome coffee shared with our religious in an atmosphere of fraternal and lively sharing. The following youth took part: Paulo Ricardo Maciel, Lucas Galdino dos Santos, Gerson Gabriel Sousa, Danilo Aguiar da Silva, Gabriel César Ferreira, Ícaro Magalhães and Gabriel Souza.
At the time of prayer we sang the hymn of the Company of Fraternity 2018, because in this unquiet year of the Church facing the increase of violence it makes us reflect on the socio-historical conflict in which we are living and which turns us to Jesus, who in his time denounced the injustices and evils borne by people. The reading of the Gospel of the day was also the basis of reflection, since in this period of Lent we are invited to see the other person as our brother and to love our enemies.
The news of newspapers and magazines were used to present the topic and youth were asked about what they are aware of and what concerns them most regarding the present situation.
The aspirants listened to the song “My dream” by Gabriel the Thinker and they watched the video “The Isle of Flowers” to stimulate discussion, sharing of information about perception of their own situation. The Meeting was dynamically animated with the help of a division into teams and by a sharing in groups about the manner in which youth perceive the present reality, by responding to some questions raised: what attracts our attention? Are we free? Does God exist? What does it mean to be religious in a context of socio-political conflict and terrorism ? What socio-ecclesial contexts must be illumined by the Eucharist? What impels me on my vocational journey?
During this meeting we tried to understand that in the light of the Eucharist our role as religious is to witness to Jesus committed in the social situation, denouncing the injustices and not forgetting to confront the problems imposed mainly on the poorest classes. As a consequence, we have let each youth express freely his awareness and his socio-ecclesial ideas, enriching sharing of information.
After a morning of dynamic studying and reflection, we ended this meeting by a fraternal lunch shared by the religious and the youth, and we thanked God for this beautiful beginning of the year of formation and for the continuity of our aspirants in their journey towards discernment.