Young people of the VMY in Lousada (Portugal), nourish their faith and help other

by | Jul 25, 2022 | News, Vincentian Marian Youth

Cátia Pinheiro was born on 5 March 1994, in the district of San Miguel, municipality of Lousada, into a Catholic family, where faith was instilled in her from a young age. Furthermore, the family has always been a fundamental pillar for her, transmitting values and supporting her.

In 2008, she was invited to join the Vincentian Marian Youth group ( JMV ) in Lousada, an invitation she accepted with great anticipation. From the time that she was little she had been captivated by this parish group and by their charism which was reflected in the activities they carried out.

Graduated in nursing, she embraced the spirit of the mission, which brought her to Mozambique with the project “Reborn to hope.” Get to know this young woman and Vincentian Marian Youth better.

Let us speak about the Vincentian Marian Youth.

Vincentian Marian Youth VMY) is an association that accompanies young Christians in their growth in faith. The VMY was formerly known “Sons and Daughters of Mary”, whose origin dates back to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830. This Association was approved by Pius IX in 1847 and subsequently confirmed by other decrees of the Holy See. Vincentian Marian Youth is present in many countries of the world, uniting young people in this Marian mysticism and in an apostolic commitment that embodies the Vincentian charism.

Any young person between the ages of 15-30 can become a member of this Association. Also adults who are concerned about the formation and encouragement of young people can also become involved in leadership roles in this Association.

How did the VMY group come into existence in San Miguel?

The VMY group in Lousada, San Miguel, was born in 1984 and to this day many young people have been associated with the group. Their yearly work plan includes many activities that promote service to others in the parish, such as visiting the sick and the elderly. Other activities include the formation of young people through biweekly meetings, exchange  of experiences and testimonies among young people from different groups, as well as regional and national meetings that allow the members to live and celebrate their faith.

What about this missionary spirit that brought you to Mozambique?

Growing up in the faith, I came to an understanding that my faith led me to embrace ever-increasing challenges, and this small group has provided me with various profound experiences: International Meetings of the Vincentian Family and the World Youth Days. In these meetings I experienced the power young people who accepted the invitation of Pope Francis to “get up from the sofa” and “reach out to other people in need”.

I have also always been very committed to my academic career and to fulfilling the dream of graduating in Nursing. This dream came true in July 2016. As I grew up, I began to see nursing as a mission, the same mission that has captivated me since I was a small child and that continues to challenge me today!

JMV’s missionary project “Reborn to Hope” was initiated in September 2016, and this was the right time for me to embark upon and live my dream.


Do you feel that there are many people in need?

I have always felt the urge to reach out to people and therefore, as a result of the missionary spirit was deepened within me as a member of the VMY, I took this opportunity to go on a mission. It was absolutely amazing to see the reality of these people and to listen to their stories. This was a six month experience and through the grace of God, my dream became a reality.

In the mission in Mozambique, and knowing the local reality, we realized from the beginning that the soup kitchen would be one of the priorities of the project. In addition to meals, children received school support, hygiene and some health care.

The JMV group from Lousada, San Miguel, wants to continue living their faith in service of the poor, that is, in service of poor men and women beyond their borders. Indeed, one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is knowing how and by what means to reach out to these people in need.

What activities have your promoted and why have you done this?

Responding to Pope Francis’ appeal in his message for World Mission Day 2019, namely, people in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving, our group developed various activities in the area of charity and outreach.

In October, we sponsored the Missionary March, a walk of 8 km through the streets of the parish of San Miguel. The money collected from the 450 registrations was given to the missionary project of the VMY “Reborn to Hope – Mozambique” and to the Kastelo Association.

Also on World Mission Day, our group offered the elderly and some infirm individuals an afternoon of sharing and joy in the parish hall of San Miguel.

All these or many other mission experiences showed me that being a member of the VMY fills my life with meaning. I know that I can make someone’s day more complete, that I can communicate joy where there is none and that the little that I can do for someone is actually doing everything.




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