Peru: I Campamento Jóvenes del Sagrado Corazón (JOSAC)

Those of us on the Youth Ministry Team of the Province of Peru know that young people in our country are faced with a variety of difficult situations. This challenges us to find new ways of realizing Madeleine Sophie’s vision of forming "adorers" who are passionate about life and capable of transforming the world.  This is our desire for the young people we accompany.  We want them to develop skills that would enable them to be authors of their own lives.  We hope that they would be able to take the exigencies of their personal histories as challenges and to view these in light of their commitment as Christians.  
As a Province, we journey together towards the realization of this vision.  Through our Youth Ministry we desire to support the Sacred Heart Youth (Jóvenes del Sagrado Corazón: JOSAC) in their discovering of Jesus Christ as the significant newness that engenders in them a rich passion for life, the fullness of the Good News of the Kingdom.  
On the 9th to the 14th of January, the Province hosted I Campamento JOSAC (the First Sacred Heart Youth Camp) in Pucusana, Lima. 35 young people came together from our various institutions in Lima, Bambamarca, Jaen and Trujillo, along with two young women who are discerning their vocation.  They were accompanied by the Province Youth Ministry Team, comprised of four collaborators and some RSCJ.  The Camp gave the young people an opportunity to express their creativity and enthusiasm. It helped foster bonds of friendship across diverse cultures.  It awakened in each one the awareness of the need to care for oneself and for the other, and to value, respect, and love nature and the environment.
The overall theme was Caring, which we looked at from three angles:  1) care in communication, which included the profound experience of practising listening as a sacred tool in caring; 2) care for others and for ourselves, and its important implication on decision making; and lastly, 3) care in expressing our emotions as a skill to achieve happiness. All these provided the space for caring and reconciliation to to be practised amongst the participants and in the community.  This then opened the way to an understanding of the Culture of Peace as the means to develop more just and equitable relationships for and amongst young people.

One of the many valuable and varied activities that we had was the Sunday Community Service Day.  All of us together, young people and leaders, did a clean-up of the beach.  This really made an impression on the young people, and amazed the bathers who watched. It certainly fostered growth in co-responsibility for the Care and Protection of the Environment.  Without a doubt it was an experience that marked them and will continue to influence the paths that they choose for their lives.
On the final day, they worked on concrete projects and activities that they would pursue when they return to their own institutions.  They chose this motto: “I offer you a challenge: choose change, and we will have better lives.”  They themselves will be the agents of the change the world needs so much.

Some of our young people now share in their own words their experience of the Youth Camp:

“The Josac Youth Camp 2015 was one of the best experiences I have ever had.  There I came to know some magnificent people, and in spite of having spent such a short time together, I will never forget them.”  Claudia Escudero, I.E Sacred Heart - Trujillo

"First I want to thank God for having allowed me to live this experience of the First Sacred Heart Youth Camp (JOSAC), and for having come to know wonderful people who now are my sisters and brothers.  I am also grateful to the coordinators and Sisters who taught us to look at the world in a more beautiful way. Now we are all one big Sacred Heart family. I just hope there will be another meeting soon, because I will really miss everyone. May God bless each one of the JOSAC participants."  Luz Echenique Yañez, I.E Sacred Heart, Chalet - Lima

“I will sum up this experience in two words:  Joy and Love.  Joy, for the times of meeting with God, of sisterly/brotherly union; and, Love, for the call of God to change the world, and for the times of reflection and commitment. During the Camp I got to know people who are so unique, so different, yet united by the same ideal:  to change the world in the name of Jesus Christ. I am certain I was not the only one with this desire.  Thanks to this experience, I am able to reaffirm my faith and my vocation. Grouping us in "tribes" (teams) was a lovely experience that allowed us to work in groups and to realize that we cannot achieve all this alone  --  we need a team. These teams/tribes (Eagles, Wolves, Buzuls (a type of growler), Lions and Ants) became by the end, a family full of love, respect and peace, committed to work for the care of God’s creation.  A most beautiful experience of the JOSAC FAMILY.”  Ruth Tejeda Coronel, National Teaching Insttute, Monterrico,  Vocation Ministry - Lima

Thank you!  To each one of the leaders and especially to the young people of the Sacred Heart Family who, through their enthusiasm and willingness, made a success of this First Sacred Heart Youth Camp (I Campamento JOSAC). May the Lord continue to fill us with His Spirit, calling us daily to be Light and Salt in the world…., Sowers of  JUSTICE, PEACE, and the INTEGRITY OF CREATION.
Linda Guerrero Lanoyre rscj