(Angola). The young people of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) of the Communities of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Queen of Peace Preprovince (ANG) and of the Preprovince of the Salesians of Don Bosco (ANG) are invited during Lent to participate in various spiritual and formative experiences: retreats for young people and animators, via Crucis, and pilgrimages.

The spiritual retreat for young people took place on 6 March 2021, and began with a pilgrimage from the main community to the Parish of St. Joseph in Cabinda. Jerónimo, one of the participants, says that after spending the year 2020 without living Lent with the young people of the parish due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the retreat was an opportunity for renewal in faith and a time of hope and charity. “The pilgrimage with young people was a celebration of my Catholic faith. A beautiful experience that many do not have the opportunity to live. The reflection from the Message of Pope Francis for Lent 2021: “Faith calls us to welcome the Truth and to become witnesses to it before God and before all our brothers and sisters”, helped me to understand that faith is witness, and we must live it and put it into practice in the truth.

From 6 to 8 March 2021, in Viana (Luanda), at the SDB St. Domenic Savio Community, 35 young people from the seven communities present in the province of Luanda, some educators, FMA, and SDB participated in the 2021 Animators Retreat.

In an atmosphere of fraternity, silence, and reflection, the young people began the retreat with the Via Crucis organized by the Community of Viana. The initial moment was led by Sr. Lourdes Arredondo, FMA, while the Director of the SDB Community, Fr. Dionísio Cassindula, gave the Salesian Good Night.

The Sunday Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the SDB Provincial, Fr. Martinho Lassarte, who in his homily explored the figure of Moses and the Covenant on Sinai. The young people then, together with the FMA, SDB, and lay people, reflected on the biblical characters of the Old Testament such as Moses and the prophet Elijah, guides of the people of Israel. The meditations on the New Testament centered on the figure of Jesus, model guide, and on the experience of animation of the community of Ephesus.

Between moments of silence, prayer, and group sharing, the young animators had the opportunity to prepare themselves to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to discuss their personal and pastoral experiences with each other and with Sacred Scripture.

The Eucharistic celebration, at the end of the experience, was an expression of gratitude for the retreat lived in the joy and fraternity of the encounter with the Word of God and with other young people.


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