From 10 to 13 February 2018, we had the joy of living the XVI REPAJU, Carnival retreat for the youth, illuminated by the theme of the youth Synod: “The Youth, faith and the vocational discernment”. Supported by the preparatory document for the Synod, the team elaborated a prayer schedule with the aim of helping the youth to perceive the presence of God in their life, like a companion on their journey as a Providence. There were 36 youth who participated in the retreat coming from different cities of the state, St. Paul, and were accommodated in our community at Sorocaba for three days. The team was consisted of sisters and lay members of the Providence Family of various communities who were concerned with the reflections, dynamics and the dramatizations of the life of St. Luigi Scrosoppi.
Following the theme of the Synod, on the first day we reflected on Situations of the Youth, subject to influences from all sides, but must learn to decide for themselves and choose the proposal of Jesus. The young people accepted spontaneously to keep aside their cell phones, to live fully the moments of encountering God without distractions.
On Sunday we reflected on Faith. Through the example of a “Potter”, contemplated the creation of God and thanked Him for our lives; with the “panel of faith”, we remembered those people who in one way or other spoke of God or who presented Jesus or educated the youth in faith. And then we had reflected on the friendly relationship of Father Luigi with God, theProvident Father. Spontaneously the youth started sharing their experience of Providence in their lives; a journey in which everything went on well, and an unexpected solution of a situation which led to life, and there were many other beautiful sharing with full of life.
Monday’s theme was the vocational discernment, reflected on the meaning and importance of discernment in the life of everyone, the value of prayer and examples of some of the Biblical figures like Martha and Mary. The question was: in our daily life, do we choose “the better part”? We had the presence of a couple Carla and Jose who gave testimony on the value of “family” and who give their own time for their neighbours who are in need, because being professionals of dentistry, they have decided to work as volunteers in the places most in need. The youth appreciated the testimony of this couple and they were enthusiastic with the theme of the day.
In the afternoon we met our old mothers in old age home in the community of St. Teresa of Child Jesus (“comunità Santa Terezinha”), where each mother expressed how happy she is, being a consecrated sister. In the evening during the feast celebration, youth shared all their experiences through dramatic presentations. In this way they carry in their hearts the message that, despite the difficulties and proposals of today’s world, it is possible to follow Jesus in every choice of life.
During the closing Mass of the retreat, we celebrated along with Sr. Gislene, who will be going to Buenos Aires, Argentina as a missionary. All participated well in the celebration of the holy Eucharist and it was felt by everyone because the theme was such which spoke of the joy of following Him. All the young people remained happy for her testimony as a missionary and as a sister whom they met during retreat. In handing over the cross, Sr. Simone Cremer, provincial superior, said that Sr. Gislena is our offering for the Kingdom. Indeed it was a holy Mass experienced by great emotion and finally all embraced Sr. Gislene, the missionary as a sign of support and communion.
Finally, as “good Brazilians”, after the celebration, we concluded our retreat with a delicious barbecue, with a Japanese touch. This REPAJU motivated our team even more and affirmed the importance of working with young people of the present days. We express our gratitude to all those who had collaborated in some way or other so that this initiative could reach a "good end"! Every little gesture has produced joy, visible in the eyes of the young! San Luigi Scrosoppi intercede for us and the Lord bless everyone's life and family! Thank you!
The sisters of the Province of Our Lady Aparecida– Brasile