Lucila is a pretty little resort town overlooking the sea, 350 km from Buenos Aires. It is the place where “School Holidays” has been being held for the past thirteen years. Omar and Susana Zazzerini from the Parish Movement in Buenos Aires are the organizers of the event and tell us: “We began from the words of Jesus ‘Come away by yourselves and rest a while’ (Mk. 6:31). We especially had in mind families that had less opportunity to go away on holiday. We hoped that the days together would not only be restful but also like a course on living a life generated by mutual love and lived in the spiritual presence of Jesus among us. Just as in the early days of the Focolare when people would spend the summer holiday together in the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy. There many people exprienced this Gospel lifestyle and discovered God as Love.”
Most of the people come from parishes in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. The first year we were 23. This time 115 have taken part in the thirteenth edition with 115 staying the whole week. Up until now more than 1200 people have taken part in it.
“The main thing,” says Omar, “is to love with the power of the present moment, being attentive towards others, seeing each other with new eyes in every moment.” This means forgetting about the defects or misunderstanings with those whom we have known for a long time. “Otherwise,” Omar continues, “it wouldn’t be so nice to stay together for a week in small teams that have to take turns cooking, washing dishes, serving table, and maintaining the surroundings.”
“This is like a training course,” Susana adds, “in which we learn to help each other in overcoming painful situations or conflicts. Whenever we feel bothered by others, it is this living together teaches us to accept and accommodate to the discomfort we feel.” Then interpersonal relationships are brought to a new level.
Spiritual deepening, sharing what we live, “also the sufferings. . .” Susana continues, “some difficult situations are resovled in this communion. The highest moment is the Mass. The rest of the day is spent on the beach, playing, taking walks, chatting and relaxing.”
The spiritual growth of the participants and the impact on youths is something that should be mentioned: “The youths are growong in number, but also in quality. You see it in their love for the elderly and for the small children. and in their relationship with each other. Some young adults have already begun families, others have had an experiene at Mariapolis Lia or attended the Genfest in Budapest. One of the girls was able to attend WYD in Spain thanks to the support she received from everyone. Now she’s the contact person for the WYD in Rio de Janeiro. We’ve also been joined by consecrated people, members of other Churches, seminarians and several priests.”
As one person put it who was participating for the first time, this is an exprience of brotherhood that continues on throughout the year in the parishes.
Compiled by Carlos Mana