Her parish community helped her raise funds for her plane ticket to Italy. She represents many young people in Brazil who were not able to attend but, like her are very involved serving the local Church at the parish level with the spirituality of unity.
Natalia is from Portugal. She became acquainted with the spirituality of unity through her parish priest who is with her and five other young women at the meeting in Benevento. They are here because of an experience of communion that began several years ago and has spread to 3 other parishes, drawing in dozens of other young people.
There is also a group of 7 Slovakian young people, along with their pastor. Their 50-member parish youth group had to choose who would attend the meeting because there was not enough money for all of them to attend. There are 14 Slovenians. Among them is Lucka, a very young pianist with a promising future. He one day realised that music was not the most important thing. He placed God first in his life and everything changed, his relationships with colleagues, family and, above all, himself. Now he is much happier.
Italy was represented by people from north to south. The people from Gaeta were especially lively. Their group began ten years ago and soon spread to neighbouring cities. There were also people from Vallo Torinese, following on the trail of Servant of God, Maria Orsola Bussone, a young woman of the Focolare Movement who was very involved in parish life. Not everyone at the gathering was involved only at the parish level, a large number were also involved at the diocesan level.
It was a beautiful week in late August with the Focolare’s Parish Movement and Diocesan Movement, at the Mariapolis Centre in Benevento. The programme included moments of reflection, prayer, recreation, relaxation, hiking and social involvement in the local Caritas projects around the city of Benevento. The local television reported on the event, which then led to several local residents going up to visit the Mariapolis Centre to know more.
A conclusione, una domanda pratica: come fare a declinare l’esperienza vissuta a Benevento nella quotidianità e nella pianificazione delle attività delle parrocchie e diocesi? Molte sono state le proposte: periodici collegamenti telematici, più momenti da vivere insieme, calare l’operato nelle “periferie esistenziali”, aiutare il proprio territorio con iniziative ambientali, l’impegno per la pace e molto altro.The concluded with a final question: How to take the experience they had lived in Benevento to the daily life and activities of the parish and diocese? There were many proposals: regular telephone link-ups, more moments together like the one held in Benevento, involvement in local environmental projects, focusing work in the “existential peripheries,” assisting local environmental projects and promoting world peace.
The responsibility now rests in the creativity of all, together with the local parish or diocesan community belong to. They now return to those communities as companions on the journey of making the parish more alive and humanity more fraternal.