Since the World Youth Days in Sydney (2008), the Brothers CMM (Brothers of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy), members of the international Vincentian Family, have given an international group of young people the opportunity to participate in these World Youth Days. In 2019 some 60 young people from Indonesia, East Timor, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Brazil and the Netherlands took part. They are young people from places where the congregation is active.
We call the group ‘Ambassadors of a Worldwide Brotherhood.’ With this we want to express what we as a congregation have in mind with this group. The journey to the WYD is not the ultimate goal; it is a means to make the young people enthusiastic about a ‘mission’ in their own country: promoting worldwide brotherhood. This means that in the periods between the World Youth Days, the groups in the different countries develop activities, both in the field of prayer and reflection and by being socially active. One of the goals is also to pass on the message of the World Youth Days to the youth where they live.
The participation in Panama has been a great success. An important part of the program is a week of reflection prior to their participation in the WYD itself. This week of reflection took place at a beautiful location of the Daughters of Charity – a country house of the San Jose de Malambo orphanage. The young people shared their faith experiences through the lectio divina method, based on four Marian themes: Mary as Prophetess, Mary as Mother of Mercy, Mary as Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows and Mary as Companion. Several young people expressed these days as the most inspiring part of their journey.
During the World Youth Days themselves, the hospitality of the Vincentians at St. Mary’s parish in Panama City was also great. And after the WYD we were, for evaluation and relaxation, invited guests at a beach house of the Vincentians in Santa Clara. In sharing their experiences with their peers the evaluation demonstrated the enthusiasm of the young people. As one of the participants put it: it is only when we return home that our mission really begins!
Br. Broer Huitema CMM