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logo-YIG2013YOUFRA INTERNATIONAL GATHERING - REPORT

From July 19th to 22th, in the city of São João del Rey, Minas Gerais, Brazil, the World Gathering of Franciscan Youth took place under the slogan "Go and Preach". 164 youths from 19 countries participated in the Gathering

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YOUFRA INTERNATIONAL GATHERING - REPORT

THE BEGINNING

From July 19th to 22th, in the city of São João del Rey, Minas Gerais, Brazil, the World Gathering of Franciscan Youth took place under the slogan "Go and Preach". 164 youths from 19 countries participated in the Gathering: Guinea Bissau, Argentina, El Salvador, Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, South Korea, Costa Rica, France, USA, Colombia, Cape Verde, Croatia, Lithuania, Panama, Bolivia, Spain, Mexico and Brazil (from different States: Pará, Piauí, Paraíba, Sergipe, Bahia, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul). The Gathering also counted with the presence of CIOFS Presidency members, National Council of the Franciscan Youth in Brazil, the assistants, OFS National Minister, and OFS brothers and sisters from Brazil...

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The official opening of the Gathering took place at the historic church of the Secular Franciscan Order of St. Francis, in the downtown city of São João del Rey, where the participants were fraternally received by the brothers and sisters of YouFra Brazil, to then begin the Holy Mass presided by the bishop of the city, Msgr. Celio de Oliveira Goulart, OFM. During this celebration, the Pilgrimage Cross replica from the World Youth Day was presented.

 


SAINT, BRAVE AND PASSIONATE

July 20th begun with the Holy Mass at the church of San Gonzalo Garcia; subsequently, YouFra Commission (CIOFS), YouFra and OFS Brazil were presented. Sister Encarnación del Pozo, OFS General Minister, presented the subject "Go and Announce" with a clear message of living faith with happiness, prayer and silence listening to the experience of the Christian life in Franciscan spirituality. She also insisted upon our duty of transmitting hope, peace and happiness in the announcement of Christ's message.

In her message about faith, she stated that our faith should become a flame of fraternal love in our encounter with others, not being enough just to communicate but also to gather. She asked us if faith and youth get along well. Youth is moved by noble causes; the problem sometimes is inside ourselves because we can fear the new and adventure. We may sometimes think that in the 21st century nothing new is to be discovered, however, humanity keeps on evolving, it is not static. We live in a world where the perceptions are the ones that move, not the realities. Our mission is to relearn to evangelize. The Pope Francis said "who believes, sees!" In the dark, it is impossible to tell apart good and evil.

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During her message, when referring to evangelism, the General Minister asked us whether YouFra's mission is a specific mission. Our mission is the Church's mission: to evangelize - "Go and Repair my Church! And how does the Church want us? It wants us to be saint, brave and passionate. Are we nonconformists? No, to be a Franciscan means to have spiritual liberty, to have the capacity to face borders, with passion. YouFra has a great mission: to offer its vocation taking on its compromise. "Any Franciscan without passion better go away! (Fr. José R. Carballo, OFM). We better share what we have because there are others who do not have anything.

The General Minister told us faith is always a proposal, never an imposition, and she invited us, repeating John Paul II's words, not to feel fear.

 

 

LEARNING THE REALITY OF SOME YOUFRA'S FRATERNITIES

Fraternities from Argentina, Venezuela, Lithuania, Cape Verde and South Korea presented their particular realities. In Argentina, for instance, the most important difficulty is distance. In Lithuania (where YouFra was founded in 2006), the problem faced is an individualist society, with high rates of suicide, alcoholism, violence and emigration. YouFra is a real alternative to come out from all these problems. YouFra's members provide training to those deprived, organize spiritual retreats, spread the gospel through art and Internet. YouFra of Cape Verde was founded in 1997; it is a national fraternity of 10 islands, and its major problem is the lack of government organization.

We were provided with a moment to share and integrate with the rest of participants in the gathering, in which we reflected on the sister Encarnacion's message, as well as on how we live the faith in the different fraternities, and on YouFra's actions in response to the call, in the social, political and economic points of view.

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To conclude this moment, we thought over the Pope Benedict XVI's message for the WYD about the youth missionary compromise in the mass media, travels and migration fields.

Afterwards, and to finish the reflection moment of the day, we recited the Light prayer (Candle Lighting – Lucernario), to then continue with the Feast of nations in which each nation had the opportunity of showing its culture with songs, games and dances. The nations night ended with the Adoration to the Holy Sacrament, having each nation its moment of adoration during the whole night.

 

 

A GREAT FAMILY BEYOND BORDERS

July 21th began with an initial prayer and a few directions for the São João del Rei city walk. In the afternoon, the Gathering was closed after the review of the activities performed and the gratitude towards everyone who somehow contributed to the fulfillment and success of the Gathering. Then, the Liturgy was organized among each nation's representatives for their participation in the Holy Mass, and special thanks were given to the brothers and sisters from CIOFS, YouFra Brazil, OFS Brazil and the community.

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Finally, the Gathering ended on July 22th with the Holy Mass organized by CIOFS's brothers and sisters, in which we emphasized on the importance of preaching and on the hope placed in the youth to bear witness of Christ in the world. As a sign of the great family we are beyond borders, we put together soil from every participating nation, making it one sole piece.

During the Gathering, we lived strong moments of mysticism, animation and exchange of faith experiences, which strengthened and motivated us to continue generating bonds to live fraternity as a Franciscan Family in the world, despite the diversity of the different cultures.

Peace and Good!

Shirley Ramirez, YouFra Paraguay