Young people leave WYD in Rio on a mission "beyond borders"
by Piero Facci*
Charity, solidarity and aid to the poor are some elements that have given birth to new congregations and institutes in Brazil. But the pope wants a charity that is an expression of evangelization. Faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest gift to share. And many young people are deciding to become missionaries for life.

Rio de Janeiro (AsiaNews) - One of the key words of Pope Francis this WYD in Rio was solidarity, but at all times with the aim of mission and missionary vocation.

The pope cited the value of solidarity as a typical witness of the Brazilian people. Although social problems are a persistent and enormous challenges in Latin America, the people of these lands can give others great lessons of solidarity, indeed, with her distinctive culture the Church has always stood out for her aid to the poor. Even the new communities of consecrated that have arisen in recent years prove just this. To mention just a few: Toca de Assis, which literally means "the lair of Assisi", which combines the commitment of Eucharistic adoration and adoration of Christ in others such as the abandoned, the Alliance of mercy, the Eucharistic Mission voice of the poor, Mission Bethlehem and many others who are inspired by the charism of St. Francis.

These communities were present at WYD, with their variety of habits, similar to the Franciscan habit poor and rough. Certainly these examples have come to the heart of the Pope who quoted, with a popular phrase, also the commitment of ordinary people helping others, giving rise to an understandable wave of sympathy: "You are always ready to 'colocar mais água no feijão'," add more water to the beans soup", in short add an extra seat at the table when there is need. And this is precisely the solidarity that is capable of building the new culture of encounter, and generates closeness, relationships, encounter, a culture capable of defeating that idolatry of money that dehumanizes man. The words of Pope Francis. A very strong message, a real appeal to young people.

But the pope also said another important thing, and that is that the faith is so much more alive when we communicate it to others. Echoing the words of John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio, "it is in gifting the faith that we grow." In the same encyclical, John Paul II recalled that the greatest good is to communicate Jesus Christ, and that this is also the greatest service that we can give to mankind. So why not combine solidarity and mission? The greatest solidarity that we can show the other is to communicate our faith through charity. And this was also Pope Francis' heartfelt appeal at the closing Mass. Bringthe Word of God out into the world, without fear, going to the outskirts of humanity to the poorest and most excluded. And he quoted the Blessed José de Anchieta, the Jesuit missionary who was only 19, when he left Portugal to come here in Brazil to share the faith. We too must also leave Brazil and other countries to go without fear and make disciples among the nations!

The message was warmly welcomed. In fact, hundreds of young people have approached us missionaries at the stand of Aid to the Church in Need where I was stationed.  They have browsed our magazines and newspapers, they were able to get to know our charism and above all were confronted with a large banner that hung over the stand with the photos and names of the martyrs. One of them, Chilean, approached and asked, "Father, how can I become a missionary? This WYD showed me clearly that this is my path." At the Prayer Vigil, I was sitting on the sand of Copacabana I was talking with a guy from Milan, who had just graduated in medicine, who in September will enter the seminary to become a missionary. Others, however, feel a duty to evangelize in their own land, with a more effective commitment in the parish or in the movement of which they are part. The Aid to the Church in Need stand one testimony, which was then projected during the Vigil, particularly shocked hearts. A missionary, a veteran of the war in an African country said it was during the armed conflict only three groups of people were allowed to enter the villages with people: doctors, 'malucos' (the crazy) and missionaries.

At the welcoming ceremony at the beginning of the week of WYD, the Pope said, "Go, make disciples, go beyond the boundaries of what is humanly possible, and create a world of brothers and sisters." Taking his leave, before boarding the plane he said: "Many of you have come on this pilgrimage as disciples, I have no doubt that you all now leave as missionaries, ready to proclaim the Good News, in big cities and small towns, in the countryside and in all places of this vast world ... Christ is preparing a new springtime in the world. I saw the first results of this seeding, others will rejoice with the rich harvest. "

So has the mission been accomplished? Yes and no. Yes for the appeals made, but now we need to take action and transform all that has been said, sung, danced, worshiped and prayed into reality. Go, therefore, without fear, all over the world to serve.

* PIME Missionary in Brazil, director of Mundo and Missao