Summer is greatly awaited by adolescents and teenagers. They hope to make friends, live good experiences that leave everlasting signs in their lives. We, the Servants of San Jose for many years, have also lived these two months of school holidays intensely by organizing and encouraging youth-filled experiences. During these months all our communities are mobilized to welcome in our home young people who want to deepen their faith, as well as have fun and learn things that help them grow.
This year the experiences were inaugurated by the sisters of Jarahueca. From July 7 to the 9th, they welcomed a group of teenagers from the Yaguajay pastoral zone, where the community works and collaborates in pastoral ministry.
"We received with great joy the 14 teenagers who responded to our invitation. To encourage integration and sharing, we formed a working team: Rainer, a young man from the Itabo community, Josefina and Diana volunteers from the Solidarity Workshop (Tds) who had just arrived in Cuba and three sisters: María Isabel, Consuelo and Midiala.
On Saturday, the 7th, we dedicated our time to the theme "Jesus the great treasure of my life" reflecting on the life of Jesus, his way of looking, thinking, touching, caressing, feeling, loving ... and how this influences our own lives. On Sunday the 8th, with the phrase of Mother Bonifacia: "Jesus is seeking those who wish to follow him…” we based our reflection on our way of following Jesus.
The young people enjoyed writing a letter to Jesus, they then put their letters in a box they had previously made. In the afternoon we participated in the Eucharist with the Christian community and at the end we sang for them the theme song of our youth gathering. Do not hesitate and follow him (of the JMJ in Madrid) which they liked a lot and was a hit with the young people..” We ended the youth gathering on Monday with a rich excursion to the city and the beach of Trinidad.
They were really very beautiful and enjoyable days, we are thankful to the Lord for this experience."
The Vocation Youth Ministry team´s proposal for this summer for the Cluster has been to offer young people whom we have been accompanying, the possibility to deepen their experience of faith and love.
This has been the lai motif of this summer’s activities. Our first group to live this experience was a group of 11 young people from Santa Clara and Placetas, who participated in Miramar, La Habana (Home for the Elderly) from August 2 to 6,
This experience was oriented by Yania (Laica Josefina) Esther and Maria Isabel (SSJ). The community-workshop of Miramar as always, was organized, facilitated and collaborated with the sharing experience.
Throughout this time, the experience of work-service, was motivated so as to live out the proposal of Jesus of Nazareth, the rewarding contact and sensitivity with the grandmothers, the relationship with the workers, with the sisters and among the young people themselves, the prayer spaces, the dynamics, have all mobilized and enhanced life questions amongst all involved, the manual workshop, the reflection and the personal and team work, the walks and the fun nights of recreation gave color and life to these days dedicated to deepen in the following of Jesus that calls us to serve and to love.
"This experience has helped us and we have enjoyed sharing in the life groups, dedicating ourselves to the grandmothers and being able to help everyone who needs us. Free time: we were able to rest, get to know each other better, live together (...) We thank all the SSJ´S and the people who made this ENCOUNTER possible; the welcoming environment, the transportation offered, the accommodations and the food. Thanks for everything!!!"
The next day, in the community-workshop of Santa Clara began living together with other young people who came from Santa Clara, Remedios and Iguará (Sancti Spíritus). Ana Elena, who together with Sara and Lisvany (young man of the PJV team of the Cluster) organized and oriented the youth encounter they have shared with us:
"For this encounter, Sara Maria came from the community of Miramar (la Habana); from the community-workshop of Santa Clara we were Paquita Pedrido, María Isabel and Ana Elena. Lisvany who had participated in the encounter in la Habana collaborated in the animation here in this one. Throughout the four days, we guaranteed reflection and prayer time, as well as for shared work experience, play and fun, a pleasant stay and delicious meals.
Certainly this experience requires a lot of effort and love, and it does not leave us discouraged, but happy and eager to continue being open to offer the gifts that our loving God has given us ...”
From 13 to 16 August, again in Miramar, now with a group of young people between the ages of 15 and 18 years old from Jarahueca and Sancti Spíritus participated in a new encounter. This activity was accompanied and oriented by Yaquelin and Midiala.
In an atmosphere of trust they were able to reflect on their personal reality, that of the young people of today and the proposal of Jesus of Nazareth. They dedicated the afternoons to the craft workshops and to visiting places in Habana. On the last day they offered the grandmothers, workers and sisters a small key chain as a token of gratitude for all they had lived these days
In the evaluation, the young people highlighted as helpful the deepening in the person of Jesus, comparing Jesus´ life line with the life line of each one of them, the workshops and the relationship between everyone. They enjoyed interviewing some grandmothers of the home asking them what Jesus meant to them.
There arises great satisfaction and thanksgiving to God for this opportunity that he offers us to work with young people. The availability and collaboration of each sister of the Cluster to live these summer meetings in the three communities. To Josefina and Diana, volunteers of TdeS, we thank you for your passage through our land and for each community-taller, your support in the activities, meetings and workshops. All of these imbued by love and shared experiences
To young people for their response to our proposals, filled by richness and valor to look upon their reality with sensitivity, to give us the freshness of Jesus' call to this generation and to impel us to continue laying down our lives for the Kingdom.
We will continue to give them our love, acceptance and welcome, sharing our living space and providing the most valuable thing we have: Jesus, in Nazareth.
Together we will continue to weave together the values of Nazareth in our world today.
Siervas de San Jose.