Young brazilian girls from Santo André (SP) prepare themselves to experience WYD

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Young brazilian girls from Santo André (SP) prepare themselves to experience WYD

By Jéssica Maia – Signis Brasil Jovem
Created in 1986 by Pope Saint John Paul II, World Youth Day (WYD) is the largest gathering of young Catholics in the world. The meeting of diverse cultures, charisms and expressions of the Church with the main objective of celebrating faith and unity in Jesus Christ is a milestone in the lives of those who live in this moment. As Pope Francis usually says: "God is young" and also is the Church with its unequaled strength.
The youth are increasingly invited to take a leading role not only in the Church but also in society, showing that they are not only the future but the present. They are called to take on and make changes in the world today and now. There is a young and alive Church that longs for holiness, longs to do the will of God and there is no better opportunity to see these yearnings expressed as concretely as on World Youth Day.
The next edition will be held in Panama, January 22nd to 27th 2018, with the theme "I am the servant of the Lord! May it be done to me according to your word "(Lk 1:38). With just four months left, the work and activities carried out by young Brazilians with the aim of raising the money to participate in WYD are in full swing gaining a more intense rhythm in this final phase.
WYD is above all an experience of faith! It is necessary to believe and trust Divine Providence to face the challenges that this meeting implies, the first one being the financial reality. After all, many of those who participate in the Journey are 15 to 29-year-old young people and according to data from the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA), released in September last year, young people are most affected by the unemployment crisis that currently affects more of 13 million Brazilians. And what is the combat weapon of young Brazilians against financial difficulty? The prayer! It is with it that everything begins and everything is transformed.

Spiritual preparation

It is not hard to find parishes, dioceses and communities groups of young people who come together to pray for WYD, asking for the help of Divine Providence to be at this great meeting. That´s how the work began at the mission of the city of Santo André, from Shalom Catholic Community. Curiously, this group is formed by only women and since July they meet frequently to pray not only for themselves but also for all the young people who will be present in Panama.
The fact that WYD has as reflection matter a Marian theme also helped them to feel the presence and maternal care of the Virgin Mary. "In one of our prayers we strongly felt the presence and intercession of Mary who inspired us to pray the rosary of Divine Providence every day until the Meeting," says Ariane Matos, one of the young women who is a group member of the mission of Santo André, from Shalom Catholic Community.
Ariane, who will take part in a WYD for the first time, also emphasizes that prayer was the key to all the actions developed by the group so that these young women could take part in the World Youth Day. "We prioritize prayer in the Community, we do nothing without praying. That is why before beginning any work we give priority to the moments of prayer and listening to the will of God".
Daiane Carvalho reveals that until today she keeps the strong memories of the meeting with Pope Francisco at the World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. "Being close to the Pope was the main thing for me. What I felt when I saw him, his motivational words to the youth and his face still did not leave my mind. " The experience of prayer was also remarkable for the young woman," seeing thousands of people there in prayer and even in chill out moments is very exciting, is an inexplicable feeling, since the environment is very good. A unequaled peace and communion. " she recalled.
"I want to see Christ on earth! And share the same faith with my Brothers. " This is the expectation of 26-year-old Carine Paula Alves. She recently arrived at Shalom mission in Santo André, but soon became motivated by the climate of preparation for WYD and became involved with the local organization. Carine has never been on a World Youth Day before and despite not being able to explain why, she knows for sure in her heart what drives her to attend the event this time: "the will to go is to feel that heaven can be anticipated here on earth. Seeing the Pope, I know that I will see Jesus himself. " she adds.
On Sunday, September 30th, the group will hold its first major event for the WYD. An afternoon with barbecue and pagode music. More than an event to raise funds, the organizers hope that this will be a moment for meeting other young people who live the same hope and wish to be in Panama next year, sharing since now their experiences.
The event venue will be Centro de Evangelização da Comunidade Católica Shalom in Santo André, at Rua Dom João VI, 102, Casa Branca. More information can be found at the mission´s social media, Facebook and instagram @ ShalomSantoAndré