Our service to the Church is education
From the depth of our contemplation we are called to see the world through the pierced Heart of Jesus and there we encounter both the strength and the fragility of life. As Religious of the Sacred Heart, we renew our commitment to young people with a new passion.
We want to continue to walk with young people. Many have a passion for justice and a concern for the future of the planet. Others are marginalized, lost and have no sense of any future for their world or themselves. Some have a desire to give their lives generously in the service of others. We need to be present with them all in their search for God, meaning and the value of life.
As Religious of the Sacred Heart we want to respond with the heart of an educator. We do this with others in a variety of ways: in schools, movements, communities, NGOs, civic associations, colleges and universities, networks, parishes and projects, in cities, villages and barrios, with young people of different classes, ages, religions and cultures. We are called anew to respond with zeal.
We feel that our spirituality has something important to say to the world today and we want to share this in creative and life-giving ways, conscious that many thirst for an experience of God’s love. Young people are the agents of change in their own lives; we can learn from each other. We hear a strong invitation to walk with them, sharing our thirst and aspirations in a common effort to build a world where the desires of God will become a reality.
(Adapted from General Chapter 2008, ©Society of the Sacred Heart)
World Youth Day 2019, Panama
The Joy of Sharing Who We Are
From January 22-25, 2019, five RSCJ from the USC and MEX Provinces (Mary Finlayson, Maricruz Trigueros, Conny Mateos, Lisa Buscher, Celia Salinas) participated in the Vocation Fair of World Youth Day whose theme was "Follow Me." We prepared a booth in which we shared with you who we are and where we are in mission. We believe that our charism and internationality are gifts and are very attractive to youth and we were happy to share them!
The Earth/Love logo (the Open Heart logo forming the "O") and the image of the Open Heart surrounded by the countries where RSCJ server were the main images with which we decorated our booth, as well as many pictures of RSCJ in community and mission around the globe.
We shared pamphlets, postcards, pens, magnets and pins all with our logos. We invited youth to "Put your prayer in the Heart of Jesus" by writing an intention and placing it in a large heart at the front of our booth. We have many bags of intentions to pray for! But by far the most attractive thing in our booth for youth were the Sacred Heart tattoos. Each day the lines of young pilgrims grew longer, as they came to get 'tattooed' or marked with the Heart of Jesus. This, and the many thousands who stopped to put intentions in the Heart, gave us a wonderful opportunity to talk with them about the Open Heart of Jesus and remind them that "Love is Our Mission" is not just for RSCJ, but for all believers. We also engaged them with the question, "Where are you from?" When they found their country on the large banner, they were very moved. If they didn't find their country on our Open Heart banner, they asked, "Why are you not there?" (especially the panamanians) and we continued the dialogue. If they seemed interested, we invited them to "Stay Connected to the Heart," fo find out about volunteer possibilities or find out more about the Society or to consider a vocation as a religious.
Being at the Fair every day, engaging and talking with thousands of youth (over 700,000 youth at WYD), drew us into the spirit of joy and hope filling their lives. It was so moving to meet young men and women who already knew RSCJ or resonated strongly with our charism, or simply came from countries where RSCJ are or were (like Nicaragua). There was no lack of photos, songs, memoires of RSCJ or our instituions, little gifts...always shared with love. One young person, with tear-rilled eyes, explained how an RSCJ in Cuba had marked his life forever. The many youth and older adults from Venezuela begged for prayers for their people.
Some of us also went to the Santa Maria la Antigua site to hear the opening message of Pope Francis. What moved us deeply was to see the passion, entusiasm and devotion of the young people. Pope Francis recognized in the young women and men their "capacity to walk" because once one begins walking, there is no more fear. In the same way he affirmed that "We are different in so many ways! But none of it has stopped us from meeting one another and rejoicing to be together. The reason for this, we know, is that something unites us."
These four days of sharing with thousands of young people who visited us in the Vocation Fair ensure that many now know us and others have left with hope that one day their country will appear in the RSCJ country logo. This vocation ministry opportunity grew into a strong experience of mission: loving young people and discovering and manifesting the Love of the Heart of Jesus together. We thank the many donors who made our presence at World Youth Day possible and the International Vocation Commission for their support instrengthening the bonds among our Provinces and our living as One Body, discovering and manifesting the Love of the Heart of Jesus together with youth!
We trust that we shall soon see the fruits of those who want to say with Mary,
"Here I am, the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."