“Christopher’s life reminds me of Chiara Luce’s life,” says Francisco from Panama, who attended the rite of Beatification of the young Italian woman. And he adds: “They were both young people, simple, with normal lives. But they searched for God in everything. Two young persons who gave God to everyone who met them and, with a smile, transformed their lives.”
Christopher Amaya was born in Costa Rica. He was only a year old when, in 1994, his family moved to Panama. His parents separated when he was still a child and, notwithstanding the pain, he becamse a reference point for the both of them. After coming to know the spirituality of the Focolare, and understanding how behind every pain there is a presence of Jesus in that moment of maximum suffering when He cries out the abandonment, Christopher realized that this painful situation in his family was “his” particular face of Jesus Forsaken.
He met the Focolare through Project Give, at his school. He soon became one of the leaders of the project that promotes a culture of giving and values of peace and solidarity. He began to insert himself among the Gen3. them he came to know about Chiara Lubich, the foundress of the Focolare Movement. He established a personal relationship with her, considering her as his mother and friend, someone he could trust for understanding the truth.
One day, during a difficult time for the family, he confided to someone: “My mother Chiara taught me to forgive and to really love my relatives”. He often spoke of his life and of his choices with the other Gen, because he felt that with them he could experience the presence of Jesus, according to His promise: “Where two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20). During one of these conversations he shared how God was calling him to a vocation that involved a total choice of God, even though he didn’t yet know what it was.
Christopher was actively involved in his parish and in the final months he set out to unite the various youth groups. Many of his peers recall him as a bridge-builder between parish groups, so that there could be unity among.
This year he was chosen as a member of the honour guard, a privilege granted only to the finest students in the school. On national holidays they wear a tri-coloured sash and carry the Panama flag. Christopher was murdered before he had the chance to march, but his friends wanted him to be there just the same, by marching with his photo with a sash and anti-violence slogan.
Sharlin, a next-door neighbour who was at his side during those last moments, affirms: “I can bear witness to his ‘Yes’ to God and assure you that he loved Him to the last moment; because, who among us, with a wound in his chest, would have turned to his mother to say: ‘Stay calm, don’t be frightened’?”
At his funeral messages arrived from all over the world. His mother remarked: “I’m happy, because I’m finding out how good my son was and that what he sowed will continue to grow in all those who will follow the example of his life.”.