In Nikolauskloster in the West of Germany, about 35 young people met with Oblates to develop a vision for the Mission with Youth in the Central European Province. There were students from the Oblate school Mariengarden, young adults from the group of lay associates, young people who have been with Oblates in youth groups, etc. for years and youth from the so called OMI Gang from the Czech Republic.
The weekend’s activities focused on the question: “What do you, young people, expect from the Oblates and what can we do for you – but even more: what can we do together?”
At the beginning of our meeting, St. Eugene, our Founder, was in the focus. He gathered young people, especially the poor, helping them to experience community, faith and direction to their lives. Mission with youth has therefore been a central aspect of our Oblate mission from the very beginning. The General Chapter of 2016 stated that it is still a central aspect for us. After this look at the life of St. Eugene, we started our work:
The first step was for the young people to look at their own life plans and their own experience with the Oblates: where will I be in 1-2 years? What will I need? What steps will I take? What is important for me in the Oblate mission with youth and what am I missing there?What is special about the Oblate mission and what could my contribution be?
But we also stepped outside to meet others. In small groups, we went to shopping malls, walking areas and to other places nearby where there were many people. First we tried to watch young people and then also to ask them: What are they expecting from life? From faith? From the church?
This experience led us to the final step of this weekend – asking ourselves what we, young people and Oblates together, can do concretely? And concrete ideas there were: some are going to meet regularly in the “Mario Borzaga” community in Fulda; others are going to develop some new program for the Oblate mission at the Oblate school; others are thinking about opening a meeting point Café in Pilsen, Czech Republic, and even more…
The weekend was a kind of “brainstorming” about the future. We thought and planned together – but we also experienced that the Holy Spirit sometimes leads us to new perspectives. Therefore it was mainly a first step to a new “Mission with youth” in our province.
Some personal experiences:
During Saturday afternoon we went to the cities around us in small groups. We had three tasks: to watch people, to talk to them and to offer something — a prayer, a blessing, a hug or anything else. Since I am proficient with the German language, I was a bit shy. But I was impressed by my companions, Sali and Christian, and at their joy going out to the people. (Jan Kastl)
It was a great weekend together with a family. It was full of work, sharing, joy and finding new passion for the mission. When we left for our journey home, I had a big feeling of responsibility. The fact, that we are missionaries together with the Oblates can’t leave us untouched. I am very thankful that we could experience this together, that we young people can be real missionaries and take part in the mission of the Oblates and that they really count on us. (Katerina Zahradnícková)
Joy, enthusiasm and family: these three words express what we experienced throughout this weekend. I had already gone there with great joy,, but after these days it is even bigger. Passion for the mission – that could be experienced in every moment, during every activity, in every second and in every one of us. Usually I would rather look at the past and live in the present – but here we experienced and lived the future. What we did allowed hope to grow in me and now I feel the responsibility to keep this hope and the energy from this weekend and pass it on to others. The word “family” expresses best what this weekend meant to me. The community, the common goal, the decisiveness and the passion for the mission brought us together to be one big international Oblate family. (Salome Mecová)