A group of 15 Maltese young people from ŻAK met with another 45 young people originating from Italy, Romania, Poland, Albania, Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Spain in Grottaferrata Italy, between the 7th and 13th August within an OWLS project.
OWLS (Opportunities + Willingness + Learning = Success) is a project financed through Erasmus+ and focuses on the challenges and successes they face as voluntary youth leaders.
This project also included a meeting with around 70,000 Italian young people coming from over 200 dioceses which took place on August 1, at Circo Massimo in Rome. This celebration of faith consisted of prayers, songs and dialogue with the Pope. All churches were open for adoration and prayers throughout the night. The celebration ended on Sunday morning in the Vatican Square where mass was celebrated and the Pope recited the Angelus.
“One word to describe our experience is insightful. We had many workshops were we could explore the true meaning of voluntary work. We had time to reflect on the benefits and obstacles we face while doing such work. Furthermore, we discussed several solutions which could help us to overcome difficulties. Apart from the workshops, we also had the opportunity to participate different mass rituals, such as the Greek Byzantine.
During the evening we also experienced organised prayers from each country. Throughout the week we had the chance to appreciate diversity since we experienced different cultures, especially during the international evening where we tasted different types of food, danced, and played traditional games. We will always cherish this experience because we have built strong relationships with the other organisations. We hope that we will have other opportunities to work together on other projects in the future,” the group said in a press release.
“To be a volunteer is a very important mission. To be part of Catholic Action means to share love with other people, and meeting other members with the same faith and experiences. Everyday we learn something new which helps us through our life. Meeting all these people shows that we are not alone and we have the support of many youths like us. This experience was very fruitful and will help us to improve our service back home.” – Z.J. from Moldova
“These past few days were very enriching. We had the opportunity to share our experiences with people from different countries and I made a lot of new friends. Therefore, I will go back home with lots of ideas and energy to involve more young people in volunteering.” L.B. from Spain
“This experience was very useful for me because I learnt to be patient, to work in a group and to listen to each other. This was my first opportunity to meet so many people from different countries whilst working on the same project. Through these days we managed to discuss obstacles and benefits of voluntary work and we shared our experiences in the Catholic Action. Also, I felt very excited because I had the opportunity to be part of the vigil with the Pope”. – A.V. from Albania.