A MISSIONARY OF YOUNG PEOPLE WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
"Do we know how to listen to the questioning cry of youth ..." (Mother Leônia)
My vocational experience from the beginning was related to the mission and the world of youth. Dissatisfied with a comfortable and programmed life, I began searching for a new path, for new meaning in my life. These tireless searches led me on a missionary path. Participating in a youth movement, I heard the proclamations of young people: "You are the Church, we are all the Church," Woe to me if I did not evangelize," "Your life is mission" ... Many proclamations resonated in my heart and these were the foundations for a new life waiting to be born. It was the young people who took me on new paths where a vocational awakening had a missionary identity in the Claretian style of goodness and joy.
As young people, we commit ourselves to the mission of going to the most distant and peripheral places where we experiences sharing the Kingdom of God during extended times of holidays and Holy Week. These experiences became fundamental in my life. I felt that I no longer just wanted to be a summer or Holy Week missionary. I really wanted the mission to be my whole life. This desire to extend the mission forever led me to travel paths never imagined: Places, people, families, communities, friends, life experiences and words filled my restless heart. Everything that was outside the mission, began to be relative and uncertain. My only truth and certainty was that I wanted to immerse myself on the missionary roads beyond my geographical and existential boundaries.
Almost 20 years have passed since this new story began, and the grace of God allows me to live this dream within the challenges and hopes in accompanying young people. They were instruments of life for my young heart. God made it possible for me to be an instrument in the lives of many of them. The consecrated missionary fecundity gave me the opportunity to create life and accompany them in the construction of their life projects, in the existential dramas, in the search for professional paths, in the kept emotional disappointments ... In short, to be a life partner, to listen to them and to walk together.
Listening to the questioning cry they share concerning their realities left me restless and active to develop new projects, so as to find ways to transform these realities and not give up the youthful cause.
I currently live in a community of insertion in the outskirts of a city called Londrina, Brazil. One of the main challenges awakening the capacity to dream of better life conditions. They are surrounded by the challenges of extreme poverty, trafficking, violence, discrimination, lack of resources and public policies, none of which allows possibilities and strength to break those circles of death and transform them into life. Following in the footsteps of the Missionary and Redeemer Jesus, we seek to give answers to our lives. This is one of the priorities of the Claretian mission within this context, because they are the recipients of the mission.
With young people there are continuous trials, but always new beginnings. The novelty that a young life brings is always the Good News that encourages any soul who is passionate about youth and mission, the perfect combination in living goodness and joy. I thank God because from the Claretian charism, as a missionary of Saint Anthony Mary Claret, my missionary vocation found a path to join forces and live in a shared mission.
After having many experiences of joy and hope, even sadness and disappointment in this mission with young people, I can say again: God is love" (Mons. Geraldo Fernandes CMF)
María Fernanda Godoy Missionary of St Anthony Mary Claret