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Jesuits News Youth EYM, the initiation of the year of the Word and tenderness

EYM, the initiation of the year of the Word and tenderness

Once again the John XXII Centre in Frascati was crowded with young people shouting, laughing, smiling and hugging each other. There were 750 youngsters from all the communities of Italy, numbers to which, after the pandemic, we had grown unaccustomed. From Ragazzi Nuovi to PRE-T, they were happy to be together, to listen, to find nourishment and stimulation to grow and become, like Mary, “witnesses of tenderness.”

We are talking about the EYM National Convention held between 7 and 10 December, “Do What He Tells You to Do,” which had the Gospel of the Wedding at Cana as its guiding text and launched the journey of the “Year of the Word and Tenderness.”

n every corner of the Centre during those days, echoed the music and the words of the hymn 2023/24, “This Love”: “Let yourself be guided by His name: you will write a new story, if you know how to give yourself again….” This story, the young people, began to write it in those very days, through the diverse activities that took place, prepared in various ways according to the different age groups.

Fr. Marco Colò SJ was the coordinator of the group of young people who animated the activities for the New Youngsters; Ludovica Fadda, adult leader of the Cagliari community, together with Fr. Leonardo Angius SJ, guided the C14 junior group and Fr. Michele Papaluca SJ together with Filippo Carlomagno SJ, was in charge of the C14 senior group; the PRE-Ts were accompanied on the journey by Frs. Giuseppe Riggio and Narciso Sunda SJ.

For each group there were times for assemblies, a time for sharing and personal prayer, and, for the younger ones, games were organised in a dynamic way that helped them enter more easily into the theme. But there were several moments of being together that helped them feel like a body, to understand that from the oldest to the youngest, all coming from very different realities, everyone was called to feel part of the missionary Church, outgoing, witnesses of God’s love and tenderness for humanity.

The first Mass was celebrated by Fr. Provincial Roberto Del Riccio SJ, together with Fr. Andrea Picciau who was present as coordinator to launch the newly formed Ignatian youth network MAG+S. The mass on Saturday was celebrated by Fr. Giorgio Moriconi, parish priest of the Pescara-Penne diocese.

But the youngsters were also accompanied for the encounter with the Eucharistic presence during the penitential vigils that were preceded by a time of silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, experienced with participation and seriousness even by the youngest.

The Masses were also a celebration for the transitions from one section to the other and the send-offs of PRE-Ts who, having completed their formation in the Movement have made a commitment to serve the Church and the world.

An extra highlight to the conference was given by the intervention of some of the young people from Rondine-Cittadella della Pace, a reality that, through the meeting and cohabitation of young people from countries at war, promotes dialogue and the building of peaceful relations between people and among peoples. Their sharing helped everyone broaden their horizons and raised many questions with respect to the possibility of each person being able to become, even through their own lifestyle, agents of change and of a different way of living together.

In the final Eucharistic Celebration, Fr. Renato Colizzi SI, National Head of EYM reviewed the main stages of these days and invited everyone to return home not with the fear of leaving their hearts and good memories in Frascati, but to return home with the awareness and joy of being sent by the Lord to make everyone taste his “good wine.”

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