|(from left) La Salettes: Bro. Flávio Jardim,
Fr. Edegard Silva Júnior, Fr. Isidro Perin,
Provincial, and Bros. Jean Carvalho
and Claudir Costenaro.
Fr. Edegard Silva Júnior, m.S., together with other Brazilian La Salettes, take seriously their mission of tending “Mombitaba House” – which in the Tupi Guaraní language means “resting place”. This house is in the Taizé Community neighborhood in Alagoinhas, Bahia, Brazil, located on the east-central shore of Brazil.
Among other activities that were developed, they decided to create a blog as a space for sharing, giving the La Salettes and youth access to a shared virtual world. They have let youth know that the La Salettes are open to their comments and contributions.
As reconcilers, they want to join with those who want to understand and love our youth and exchange knowledge between sometimes very different ways of living. La Salettes want to retain a youthful heart and continue to dream and to fight for a better world.
From the moment that the Conference of Religious of Brazil (CRB) took the initiative in addressing the issue of youth in 2010, the religious have offered some information and approaches to help in their own reflection on and discussion of this challenging reality of youth and their quest for faith. Their efforts are aimed not only at encouraging their country’s churches, congregations and youth ministers to welcome more youth back to church, but also simply meeting with youth wherever they are. They feel strongly that youth should have a place in the heart of all Catholic people!
Religious Congregations working with youth
Three years ago Brazil’s National Congress of Religious met on the theme: "As disciples and missionaries, discerning our presence among young people”; the slogan was "Jesus drew near to them and began to walk with them".
In previous years, religious were called to concentrate on yearly progressive themes: 2008: attract, 2009: listen, 2010: discern and 2011: convert. Each Youth Minister was given the challenge to work better as animators of young people. Their ongoing effort was crucial in Brazil’s comprehensive preparation for hosting World Youth Day in July, 2013.
In a recent meeting, Fr. Daniel, a Salesian of Don Bosco from Uruguay, was elected Youth Pastoral Animator for the area. He shared that: “As at Emmaus, we felt our hearts burning with a passion to discern ways of approaching and effectively accompanying young people. There is a great desire that our youth may see themselves as disciples and missionaries of Jesus, especially loved by us religious who give our lives to Jesus and to the service of others”.
Our La Salettes in Alagoinhas, Bahia, Brazil, have joined wholeheartedly in this national effort to invite the youth of Brazil, in the words of Mary at La Salette, to “Come near… do not be afraid.”
La Salette Laity gather during Holy Week
of 2013 at Alagoinhas, Bahia, Brazil