“To Be Like You”: The International Redemptorist Youth Congress in Lviv

16 August 2010, 10:44 | Reports | view photo | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Natalya Yurakh

This year the 8th International Redemptorist Youth Congress took place for the first time in Lviv. The organizer was the Lviv Province of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.  The congress gathered more than 500 participants from 17 Redemptorist provinces of the world.

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The first such congress took place in 1987 in Pagani, the native city of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, the founder the Redemptorists. Since then, these congresses take place every three years. The last meeting, which took place in Ireland, gathered Redemptorist youth not only from Europe, but also from the USA, Canada, and Argentina.

For several years now Ukrainian youth have taken part in the international congresses. This year representatives from the Lviv Province had the chance to represent their spiritual tradition and customs to colleagues from other countries.

The theme for this year’s congress was “To be like you!” Every day of the week was devoted to a subtheme to consider and discuss: “To be silent like you,” “To live like you,” “To value like you.” Each subtheme was tied in with a certain biblical event. For example, the Transfiguration of Jesus incited the youth to reflect on the values of corporeal nature. The day devoted “To be silent like you” is traditionally called the Day of Penance for on this day youth speak with clergy and go to confession. Representative of the Canadian delegation, Andrii Popil noted: “The theme of the congress is very interesting. It is not too narrow and not too general. The subthemes of the days truly make one contemplate. The last subtheme ‘To live like you’ was a summary of common searches and experience.”

One of the organizers of this year’s congress, Sister Mykhaila (Lyzak), explained that although the program has certain traditional events, there is the possibility to add something new. The traditional elements include the hymn, symbols, and slogan, but there is also an original national flavor. “The youth are always eager to take part in discussion groups,” she said. “Important is the joint prayer at the daily Liturgy (this year the participants had the chance to experience the Byzantine rite) or creative prayers (paintings, songs).”

There were also a lot of performances during the congress, starting with the opening ceremony that included a concert of modern Christian and national music. On the second day, everyone participated in staging the Slovak fairy tale “The Twelve Months,” where each country was responsible for a different month. The next evening was dedicated to “Jesus – the Vine.” Representatives of each province recreated their understanding of the ten gifts of the Holy Spirit. One group used a pantomime; others danced or sang. The original performances of the delegations attested to the fact that the Redemptorist youth are not only spiritually rich people, but also talented, intelligent, creative, and cheerful.

An important component of the holiday was the hymn “To be like you” (in Ukrainian, English, and Italian), which conveyed the unity of the Redemptorist youth, which is learning to be like Christ. Yurii Demenda, Sister Terezea Vodiana, and her sister Khrystyna Vodiana composed the hymn. They wrote the words on the basis of the program and ideas of the congress. So that the hymn could be international, each delegation translated the works into their own language. 

To teach the participants about the different cultures represented at the congress, representatives from each province organized workshops. In one workshop, participants painted a three-meter icon of Jesus Christ, which was presented as a gift to the Lviv province.

The Ukrainian participants of the congress taught the guests how to make souvenir icons, to paint on glass, to make didukhs (traditional sheaves of wheat that symbolize ancestors), to make varenyky, to make Ukrainian folk dolls, to paint Trypillian symbols, etc.

The youth were visited by many representatives of the clergy including the Lviv Archbishop Ihor Voznyak and representatives of the General Government of the Redemptorists Father Jacek Dembek and Father Albert Echeverri. The visit of Father Michael Brehl, Superior General of the Redemptorists, was especially important for the youth. “This meeting was a great opportunity for not only the youth to socialize, but also for Redemptorists who for years at a time don’t see one another and it helps to maintain an international friendship,” said the superior general.

Priests from different provinces were left with a similar impression. “I made a discovery for myself here – we give ourselves to one another and language is not a hindrance, but unity in coexistence, in prayer, in happiness is very important,” stressed Father Andrei Brublieskyi, the leader of the Belarusan delegation.

 “The future of Christianity is the youth. This generation will bring something new to the church, to Christianity. It is important that the young people remind us, the older generation, of what we still haven’t accomplished for life is a process and a lot is incomplete. Since our society is constantly progressing there is always something to work on. I think that the youth has a special hunger for understanding. That is why they ask so many questions and maybe this is why the older generation is often afraid of these questions. As always, the young generation brings new life, new hope, and new elements to our lives, to our views, to our church,” shared the representative of the General Government of the Redemptorists (Italy, Rome) Father Jacek Dembek.

During the closing ceremony, the Rome Province (Italy) was selected to host the 10th International Redemptorist Youth Congress.

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    • Nik173Varuv | 12 August 2017, 22:28

      Правильно свого часу висловився один священик із Києва: " Коли Наречена Христова укладає шлюб із державою, вона ризикує залишитись бездітною ".

    • enzian | 10 August 2017, 15:37

      Різниця в тому, що УПЦ КП підтримує українську державність, а УПЦ МП - ставлеників московської орди.

    • Ігор Мицько | 8 August 2017, 19:27

      Нововисвячений владика екзарх, як всі "лівобережні " та "південні" єпископи в Україні?

    • enzian | 5 August 2017, 18:55

      Сіверський - це не сєвєрний.

    • chernomorets | 4 August 2017, 16:57

      Він православний

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