Wake Up the World: Gospel, Prophecy, Hope — the 2015 World Meeting of Consecrated Women and Men — began on the 15th of September with a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. More than 5000 young religious participated in this joyous event. As Josephine Mbayira rscj (UGK), one of the 16 young RSCJ who joined this celebration, commented: “Religious life is not dying!”
In the mornings, there were talks on vocation, community life, and mission. These were followed in the afternoons by sharing in language groups, then Mass in designated churches in Rome; and visits to places, like the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, or the St. Egidio Community, in the evenings.
The meeting with Pope Francis was on the 17th of September. He talked about community life, mission, the vows, and the joy of evangelizing. Citing from the book of Deuteronomy, he encouraged the young religious to always remember “how God has been walking with us, liberating us…. [and] when we remember the wonder the Lord has done in our lives, we want to celebrate.”
Kim Eun Jeong rscj (KOC) noted that, more touching than Pope Francis' words, were his manner and gestures, especially when he hugged and spoke to the priest from Syria. His deep concern about the situation in Syria and the plight of the refugees was clearly communicated by his actions.
The meeting ended on the 19th of September with a vigil at the Colosseum in remembrance of the martyrs. Together, the religious women and men prayed for the "zeal and courage to proclaim Christ by our very lives."
Sixteen RSCJ from Congo, England, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Spain, Uganda participated in this gathering.
Thirteen of the RSCJs at the World Meeting for Religious
From left to right (standing): Bernadette Umba (RDC), Josephine Mbayira (UGK), Jovita Triwiludjeng (INS),
Kim EunJeong (KOC), Fatima Azavedo (IND), Son Younghyun (KOC), Maria Luisa Moreno (MEX),
Silvia Villanueva (PER), Esther Romera (ESP), Ruphine Ndimbani Mazowa (RDC);
From left to right (seated): Agnes Guria (IND), Joanna Orpel (POL), Weili (KOC).
Through these words, Josephine and Eun Jeong expressed the joy that they experienced at this meeting:
The joy of being in this big group and of sharing at an international level was an opportunity and a gift. I cannot thank the Society enough.... This is what has taken root in me: to live in small ways what it means to be joyful. I think I have loved my call to the religious life even more...... These remain with me: to remember how God called us, to love community life, to be joyful....
(Josephine Mbayira rscj)
This has broadened, renewed, and refreshed my consecrated life. I realized that I must try to "wake myself up" first, before "waking up the world”! I am reminded of my first meeting with Jesus and how my vocation began, of my identity as a consecrated religious, and of the importance of community life.... I believe that this is part of the Love story between God and each one of us: a renewed conviction that I must be “Renewed by Love and Renewed for Love” as a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
(Kim Eun Jeong rscj)
Another highlight for the group was the lunch and meeting with the General Council in the Villa Lante. They shared their experience of those days at the meeting, and what had been its impact on them.
From left to right (standing): Cath Lloyd, Fatima Azavedo (IND), Janet Hopper (ENW), Son Younghyun (KOC),
Jovita Triwiludjeng (INS), Barbara Gartland (IRS), Soco Rubio, Katie Colbran (ENW), Kim Eun Jeong (KOC);
From left to right (kneeling): Hiroko Okui, Josephine Mbayira (UGK), Kim Sook Hee, Kathy Conan
Excerpts from the report and reflections sent by Josephine Mbayira rscj (UGK) and Kim Eun Jeong rscj (KOC)