On our way to our mission for the Camillian Task Force’s (CTF) Ebola Response Program here in the Diocese of Makeni, Sierra Leone, West Africa, Sr. Didith A. Otibar, SMI (a Camillian Sister) and I stopped over in Rome, Italy, for a briefing at the Generalate. And for an added spiritual refueling, too, as we participated in the World Meeting for Young Consecrated Men and Women at the Vatican City on Sept. 15–19, 2015.
Organized by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life as part of the celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life, the World Meeting challenged all of us present—a throng of around 5,000 young religious from all over the globe—to “Wake Up The World,” the Meeting’s theme.
Mornings of the World Meeting were dedicated for reflections on vocation, community life, and mission at the Paul VI Audience Hall. We were divided according to our language groups and went to different places in Rome in the afternoons for the sharing of our fruits of reflection. Early evenings were spent to cap the days with a Eucharistic Celebration at the different Churches of Rome. Added itineraries were done during the nights that focused on evangelization and witnessing by young people, going to the streets of Rome as helpers to socio-ecclesial organizations, and admiring beauty through art.
Aside from the conviction-inducing activities provided by the Meeting, it was also a joyful occasion for us to be with our fellow young Camillian religious, men and women alike, coming from different countries.
On a personal note, I considered my being able to concelebrate in the Culminating Eucharistic Celebration inside the St. Peter’s Basilica as my best experience not only in my participation in the World Meeting but also in my first-time visit to Rome. As we did the processional, entering the Basilica was surreal. It was beyond my imagining that such blessing would come into my life just that soon! I was proud to see the huge statue of our Father Founder St. Camillus, situated at the lower portion of the second column at the left (south) nave, aligned with the great saints of the Church. With all of the Basilica’s beauty and history, I felt like “taking a bath” with its splendor and in the grace of being in that moment. And, oh, have I already mentioned about entering and marveling also at the treasures inside the Sistine Chapel and seeing Pope Francis for the second time around this year?