In addition to the first part of this motto (IN YOUR HANDS) being the slogan of many of the Pious Schools in the world during this school year, the full sentence can be lost in the fashion of super-used motivational phrases that come to waste its content. Right in these two days of the Piarist Youth Meeting of Chile we wanted to give meaning to every part of the motto and to the very idea of meeting as young people, as Christians and as a Calasanctian family.

Between August 30 and 31, 2019, the eighth edition of this meeting took place at the Calasanz School in Santiago. 280 young students of middle school (14 to 18 years) from 7 schools and a parish of the Calasanctian family participated: Piarists, Calasanctians and Piarist Sisters. In addition, we were accompanying about 50 leaders among young animators, advisors and teachers.

The most important activities carried out during it were: the very symbolic and youthful prayers, testimonies of other young Christians, theatrical intervention on the subject of bullying, the GymKana, the presentation of the Christian Band Kerigma and the two activities in which we concentrate the greatest efforts and according to the evaluations of the students themselves have been the best valued: the circles of reflection and the workshops of Christian formation.

The reflection circles were the element that generated the greatest expectation among the students at the time to enroll in the meeting. It consisted of 8 topics of social interest, treated from a Christian perspective. They were prepared by the same teachers of the various works: on a single-sided sheet, a text that made sense of discussion, which complemented questions for reflection. Each student might choose the topic they would like to participate in at the time of enrollment. Topics addressed were: feminism, migration, discrimination, social media management, drugs and alcohol, sexual diversity, ecology and poverty. In general this activity was very well received by the participants, the objective here was to offer a space to be able to talk about these issues freely. Each small group that was made for reflection was accompanied by an animator or teacher.

The Christian training workshops were also very well valued, the objective here was more in terms of offering new ways close to the reality of young people to live the message of Jesus. Like the circles of reflection, the workshops were prepared by teachers and/or advisors of the Calasanz Movement, but here more than reflecting on a topic it was about learning various things: Christian dance, pantomime, Christian ecology, Christian painting, bracelets, Christian music, games and dynamics, liturgy and women in the Bible. Each participant was able to choose in advance the workshop that aroused the most interest.

We understand from the evaluations and comments that the young people have given us directly, that they had a great time, but to tell the truth I like more the satisfaction in the face and attitude of the animators, advisors and teachers who were at the forefront of the activity. There was a positive atmosphere, full of optimism and joy, to all of us. An oasis in the midst of a reality as complicated for the Church as Chilean reality. An oasis also in the middle of a world that does not “need” such messages.

We must continue to generate ways to connect young people with the message of Jesus, not as a task that comes from the pastoral responsibility that many have, but as a need to share with them the call that we have received and to which we are trying to respond , so that they may also be attentive to the call that Jesus makes to them.

Finally, I share some of the comments that the participants made in the evaluation:

“It was a very rewarding experience”

“It was a good method to strengthen faith and acquire social skills”

“I’ve never felt so many things at the same time”

“Very friendly and helpful staff”

“Good, I made new friends and managed to connect with God”

“I liked it as I was able to know more about the situations that are happening today”

In this meeting we also took the opportunity to launch the Instagram and Facebook of the Calasanz Movement of Chile: @movimientocalasanzcl on Instagram and Movimiento Calasanz Chile on Facebook.

Chile Calasanz Movement.