“This festival was an incredible experience! It did its job in my heart and it allowed us to enjoy a very beautiful atmosphere of real brotherhood that recharged the batteries!” “I realized that I can decide to stay inside the cave, or step out of the cave. I discovered how important it is for me to open myself and share with others what is taking place inside me.” “I saw so much vitality, joy and depth in these young people.” “It was a very nice experience. I leave with the certainty that it’s possible to live a different kind of life, that we’re not alone in the effort to be what we really want to be – and to take that risk.”
These are only a few of the thoughts that were shared by the thousand young people gathered on September 24-25 for the Youthfest 2016 at the Focolare’s Permanent Mariapolis Lia in the pampas in Argentina. It has become a traditional event that is repeated every year, thanks to the creativity that young people are able to have when it comes to transmitting to their peers the ideals they live for.
This year, more than a thousand young people arrived for the event from Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and many cities of Argentina. They were drawn by the title: “Risk it! What you’re looking for exists.” What did the title stand for? An experience of brotherhood, sharing the life of the Gospel for 48 hours, which is the main characteristic of this permanent Mariapolis of the Focolare Movement. Currently 85 young people from 17 countries live there with other families and adults.
They share an experience and, through music, theatre and dance also put in common the problems that young people find themselves immersed in: family relations, school, successes and failures in life, addictions, painful moments and, above all, the encounter with a God who is near, who has a personal answer for each and everyone. But the idea didn’t end there: they tried to involve everyone in building a more united world, regardless of one’s religion or belief.
This year’s program was a combination of theatre, music and testimonies that happened on stage, beneath the large emblem that stood at the hall’s entrancel. The sign contained a one-word challenge: RISK IT!
The language chosen for conveying the experiences and putting together the theatrical pieces, was direct and personally engaged everyone. The songs that were sung with such energy and captivating rhythm, helped to express this commitment in seeking something great to live for.
The outdoor program – like the tour of the Mariapolis, lunchtime, strolling – made room for more sharing among the Latin American young people who had demonstrated their desire and capacity to build a more united world, a society that is for everybody.
It didn’t take long for the feedback to arrive: “From Paraguay I want to thank all of you who made us live such and unforgettable day. We’re filled with emotion and prepared to accept the challenge!”
“This morning, while I was on the bus going to work,” writes another person who attended the event, “the days we spent together came to mind and the desire to live today well, to give that little extra, to risk it.”
Source: Southern Cone website