The European Commission for Youth and Vocation Ministry, made up of an Oblate from each Oblate Unit in Europe, met at Pozuelo, Spain, on October 23-29. Again this year, the meeting was open to a small representation of laity, youth and religious women coming from various places and who work with the Oblates in youth ministry. Present were youth from France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Italy, as well some OMMI, COMI, and Oblate Sisters.
The first days of the meeting, when the youth and the religious women were present, had the character of a “pre-congress” in view of the Second Congress on the Mission with Youth that will be held in Aix next March. The work followed the model that will be used at the Congress itself: “see, judge and act.” The working language was English, but the sharing went beyond the limitations of that one language and the native languages, allowing a deep exchange of experiences, impressions and new ideas from the diverse Oblate youth realities.
The rich sharing emphasized strong common threads: the explicit belonging to the Oblate charism and the relationship with the experience of Eugene; but also those special, individual differences that make it possible to “look at” the world of youth to which we each belong.
Coming into contact with the special characteristics of each one, whether on the personal level or the cultural reality, brought us closer to each other and allowed us to better discover what is going on with youth in our own milieu.
The meeting of the Committee was just part of the different experiences we have lived in common during these past few years: the two GECO meetings (from the Italian: Giovani d’Europa per il Carisma Oblato [Youth of Europe for the Oblate Charism]); the Oblate pre-WYD in Malaga, Spain; the PilgrimAix experience of this past summer. It was also another opportunity to make our contribution to the Oblate mission with youth. To have been able to attend the meeting made us feel like “privileged” youth and made us realize how great the Oblate charism is, and can be embodied in various youth situations, even while greatly distant by culture and geography.
After the departure of the youth and the religious women, the Oblates continued the work of the preceding days in order to make a synthesis that will be the contribution of Oblate Europe at the Congress in Aix. There was also an update on the preparations for the upcoming Oblate WYD in Poland. We especially tried to foster fraternity amongst ourselves; we had the strong feeling of having been called to build that “non-territorial community” which is so special to the mission with the youth of Europe. (Francesca and Fr. Antonio D’AMORE)