Monterrey (Mexico) From 5 to 12 July 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the formation camp proposed by the VIDES association of the Mexican Province Mother of the Church (MMO) took place online.
The slogan that accompanied the experience is: “Together to transform… Hands, mind and heart”. The camp was aimed at young people aged 18 and over, who wish to carry out a volunteer experience, both locally and nationally. The participants were 50 from 10 states of the Mexican Republic and a young woman from Haiti.
The organizing team was made up of four young people who this year volunteered in two FMA communities. Other young people, coordinated by the Provincial Delegate Sr. Karla Marrón, contributed to the technical realization and putting online the various moments – reports, prayers, interventions, testimonies – which alternated.
The meeting opened with the welcome and greeting of Sister Leonor Salazar, Provincial of MMO, who for ten years was the International Delegate of VIDES and who expressed her joy and gratitude in seeing so many young people who have great desires.
Thanks to the online connection, Sister Annecie Audate, current Delegate of VIDES International, was able to be present and hoped that this experience of formation and sharing would help the participants to make choices of solidarity, justice, and peace.
Also significant was the presence of Sister Maria Grazia Caputo, founder of VIDES, who with simplicity and passion shared with the young the richness of the Salesian charism through the theme of the Preventive System.
To enrich this formative week, there were the testimonies of various people, such as some Community Animators, who in turn told about the reality in which they live, giving young people the opportunity to take a ‘virtual tour’ of the Province and get to know the places where they can volunteer, face to face or online. Other FMA and young lay people shared with the participants some insights on VIDES, Salesian spirituality, theological anthropology, human development, human rights and participation in the United Nations, and on their personal project of life.
An in-depth study of Mary and her role in the Institute could not be missing, as well as moments of prayer and Lectio Divina. Some Salesian priests of Don Bosco and diocesan priests also participated, with themes relating to the Social Doctrine of the Church and of a vocational nature. Monsignor Oscar Tamez, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Monterrey, presided over the Eucharistic celebrations for the opening and closing of the encounter.
The participants lived all the moments with great depth and joy, renewing their availability for service, without being paralyzed by the current difficult situation. The testimonies of the young people who volunteered, the FMA, and the SDB who shared the joy of doing what they were called to do were also very much appreciated.
After this experience, two young people will begin the Period of Assessment and Guidance with the FMA, a young man will enter the Monterrey Seminary, and six young people will volunteer for a year in the FMA Communities where it will be possible to do it in presence, in compliance with health norms. In addition, three young people will be volunteering from January for one to six months. Others instead, will volunteer by participating in online youth meetings with the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement.
The voice of some participants:
I really enjoyed this experience, even if it was virtual, but I carry everything they prepared in my heart. It allowed me to open up to God and think about what He wants for me. (Yessica)
The Formation Camp taught me that God calls you when He needs you, He has a plan for you, but He needs you to discover it. (Fercha)
It was undoubtedly a week that I would have liked to share in person with everyone, but nevertheless, it was possible to create a good family atmosphere. (Marco)
I realized that to be a volunteer you don’t have to travel miles to meet the needy. The volunteer lives his life as a constant volunteer, we are called to give ourselves in the service of others, for the love of God. (Armando)