Emma Rice

The Superior General met with Oblate Youth at Parque de Jogos in Lisbon on Tuesday morning. The event, attended by some 1000 enthusiastic young people, profoundly moved Fr. Chicho as he opened his heart to the Oblate Youth. Emma, an Oblate Youth Leader from Australia, reports on this special event.

This morning, the small pilgrimage contingent from Oblate Youth Australia arrived at Parque de Jogos for the international Oblate youth event. After beginning their pilgrimage ten days prior in the Holy Land, they arrived a little tired but very excited to be united with the entire young De Mazenod Family.

Our last international gathering of young people was at World Youth Day in Poland in 2016, and even though almost seven years have passed since then, it was fantastic to see old friends reunited. It was also wonderful to witness those that have never been to an international oblate youth encounter meeting and get to know other young members of the De Mazenod Family. It was even more special for our Province as we connected with the China Mission Pilgrimage group from Hong Kong, also part of the Australian Province. Both groups will be lucky enough to spend some time in Aix-En-Provence together after World Youth Day to reflect on their pilgrimage.

Unfortunately, we only had 2 hours together, but we made the most of every minute we had with each other. We danced, waltzed, sang, chatted, and took many photos. No doubt, a quick scroll of any Oblate social media page will be filled with videos and pictures from the event.

First of all, I would like to share with you a dream. I think it is the same dream that St. Eugene had in Aix. I dream that young people become the driving force that helps our entire charismatic family to live the Gospel with joy and enthusiasm and to proclaim it among the poorest.

I propose, dear young people, that in the next six years, you be the protagonists of the missionary renewal of our charismatic family and that you do it as Mary did with the community of Jesus: the Church, so that we can be pilgrims of hope in communion. Do you want to help us in this adventure?” Fr. Chicho.

But the event’s highlight was the address from the Superior General, Fr. Chicho. It was a powerful moment of prayer and reflection as we listened to Fr. Chicho reflect on the theme from the 37th General Chapter: Pilgrims of Hope in Communion. Fr. Chicho challenged us to walk with God just as Mary did, to be sowers of hope by placing ourselves at the service of the poor and continue to be in communion with the Church and God. We ended this powerful moment of prayer and reflection by being blessed by our founder, St. Eugene’s cross, and told to “go and be Superior Generals in our communities.”

We thank the European Vocations and Youth Ministry for all the work and time spent preparing and hosting this event under challenging circumstances. The next World Youth Day will allow us more time together.