“Yes” isn’t only an adverb used to indicate a positive response or simply the opposite of “no”. The word for “Yes” in Italian “Si” is also a musical note, the seventh note: a piece of music can be in either si major or minor…
We played on these meanings in describing the slogan of the Eurocamp 2019: the “si” of a positive response to the calling (vocation) of God to everyone, and the “si” as a note that can determine also the tone of a piece of music. To respond positively to God who calls and invites towards a particular mission turns life into “a song in SI”!
The SSS community of Malmantile, which had welcomed our suggestion to hold the Eurocamp, opened to us the doors of the house and its heart with so much joy, availability and care that nothing was lacking to us. We felt welcomed, pampered and loved.
There were 24 of us. From Italy, with me, there were Daniela Biaggi and two youths coming from Treviso. The most numerous group this time was that of Germans with 7 participants. Then from Glasgow (Scotland) with Maria Novani, there were two youths; from the Czech Republic with Fr Milos Chrast sss there were two girls; and again two brothers from Belgium later joined by their mother. One person from Spain and finally Fr Herald Thamel sss from Sri Lanka, who belongs to the SSS community of Bolsena. Moreover, some persons who had participated in the Eurocamp in the 1990s and others more recently came with their families to greet us and to show their affection and interest.
The days passed quickly, full of friendship, fraternal life, reflection, prayer and times for relaxation. During morning prayer the specific theme for the day was announced, then taken up again in the afternoon by means of three questions to which the young people were invited to respond first personally and then in linguistic groups. The assembly that followed, apart from enabling all participants to take part, served also for the animators to develop a brief catechesis on the theme.
Here are the topics of the days:
Monday 5/8 A glance that generates;
Tuesday 6/8 Called to follow him;
Wednesday 7/8 (outing to Pisa) Called to take notice of his providence and to trust in it;
Thursday 8/8 Called to the gift of self (Eucharist celebrated throughout the day);
Friday 9/8 What kind of “yes” in my life?;
Saturday 10/8 A courageous and generous “yes”.
On returning home there’s the classic question: “How was the camp?”
What do you want to know about that “How”? Each one gives a different value to it…
My reply, however, has always been: “Well, very well.”
Yes, because it has been like that: the young people glad to have taken part; the animators calm and satisfied; the fathers of the community content in having offered us hospitality and for having worked for us… So many smiles, embraces, kindness… some tears in the moments of sharing that touched us deeply. And then really beautiful and deep witnesses given about daily life and, unexpectedly, an enormous desire for greater “closeness” that the young people showed towards the church. This desire, expressed explicitly several times, was to be able to take part as protagonists in the Liturgy, especially at Mass - a deep desire to live the Eucharist in a more participated and lived way. I was impressed by this request made by everyone in Thursday's group work. This request challenges us adults, us Christian adults, we who are “SSS” Christians.
It is true that one thing didn’t go well: the attention and collaboration of the SSS community of Europe towards this Eurocamp. Only the two young people from Glasgow were explicitly invited by the SSS fathers. None of the others were. And it is a long story that has stretched over 35 years. And I continue to ask myself “Why?”
Finally, I want to dwell on another aspect: right from the beginning, the Eurocamp has offered an experience of collaboration and sharing between the SSS religious and laity. Everything is done together between us: from the choice of the theme to the division of duties of animation, from seeking texts to concrete experiences in the times of prayer and celebration. Above all, there’s a passion that accompanies us and doesn’t change with the passing of time: the will to live the Eucharist, centre of the Christian life, source and summit of the Church’s life, together with the young people to help them to discover the transforming power of God’s Love manifest particularly in the Eucharist.
Before leaving Malmantile, the lay animators asked me: “But we, are we part of the Eymardian family?... Can we say that we are part of the SSS family?”
My reply was and is, by using the same adverb that characterised the Eurocamp 2019, “Yes”.
Goodbye until next year: probably in Germany!
Father Maurizio Zorzi, sss