The Vincentian Youth gathered together in the city of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil where the International Meeting of the Vincentian Youth took place from July 18-21. With the theme “Vincentian: Missionaries of Charity! Let’s go to the Poor!” nearly 1,000 participants, from all continents went to Cidade dos Meninos (City of the Boys), a socio-educational institution related to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
The event was opened the night of July 18 with a Luau and Marian Prayer Service. In the morning of the three following days the youth participated in catechesis in Portuguese, English and Spanish which explained the theme of the meeting: New Forms of Poverty, the Vincentian Missionary Spirit and Charity as strength for Evangelization. We would like to mention the presence of Father Gregory Gay, Superior General, who gave the catechesis on the Vincentian Missionary Spirit; of the International President of St. Vincent de Paul, Michel Thio, who gave the catechesis New Forms of Poverty; of the International President of the Vincentian Marian Youth, Yasmine Cajuste, the International President of the Vincentian Marian Youth, who gave the catechesis on Charity as a strength of Evangelization; of the International President of MISEVI, Maria Rosa Momesso de Castro; and of the General Superior of Religious of Saint Vincent de Paul, Father Philippe Mura. Daughters of Charity from the six Provinces of Brazil and from several countries were also present and many other members of the Vincentian Family.
On the afternoon of July 19 the participants attended workshops. Each one could choose 2 of 4 workshops offered in Portuguese, English, Spanish and French: Vincentian Saintliness Vincentian Vocation. Forms and Initiatives of Service of the Poor and Vincentian Leadership. These were moments of exchange, sharing and deepening of the Vincentian charism and ways to revitalize the commitment of each one in his/her country.
After hearing the catechesis on Vincentian Missionary Spirit on July 20, it was time to leave for a glimpse of the mission carried out by some of the branches of the Vincentian Family in the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte. So, after lunch, divided into linguistic groups, the youth went to Vincentian parishes, houses of the Daughters of Charity and groups of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul where they saw some of the work done for the poor and shared experiences, and came to know some areas of the beautiful city of Belo Horizonte. The day ended in… samba! The youth could dance and learn samba with a group of one escola de samba (school of samba).
On Sunday 21, the youth had the opportunity to participate in a football and volleyball tournament. The teams were organized by them and, with medals going to the champions, the young people had a moment of pleasure together. Those who did not want to play could enjoy meeting other young people, exchanging experiences, playing and singing, and finally, taking this unique opportunity of “living Vincentian”. (If we don’t add the quotes the phrase wants to ask living Vincentian what?)
It is worth to say that, during the three days of the meeting, the youth participated in prayer services and Masses well prepared and energized by the team of liturgy. At night, concerts and festivals, where young people had the opportunity to share their culture through dances, songs and presentations, narrowed the bonds of friendship and revealed the face of a cheerful and enthusiastic youth and committed to Christian and Vincentians values.
On the night of Sunday, April 21, it was time to say goodbye. The departure by bus to Rio de Janeiro for the World Youth Day began. After these moments of prayer, sharing, friendship and faith, all participants noted, once again, the vitality of the Vincentian charism and the certainty that, despite the difference in language and culture, it unites us in a large network of charity around the world to promote the life and dignity of the poor.