It started with introductions and games to facilitate getting to know each other; the participants learned a new dance, a faithful companion to the entire week. Small international groups, led by Austrians, were places of discussion, life and even fun and games. Fr. Rudolf Osanger, delegate of the Salesian Youth Ministry in Austria, celebrated the first Holy Mass.
Tuesday began with the Eucharistic celebration officiated by Fr. Patrick Anthonyraj of the Salesian Youth Ministry Department. This was followed by Sr. Runita Borja, General Councilor for the FMA Youth Ministry, who spoke about her personal journey with God and her vocation. The Austrian team created a number of workshops where everyone could learn to waltz, sing traditional Austrian songs, learn how to make a Schnitzel and much more. The excursion to Vienna's "Prater" was a welcome surprise in the evening program.
On Wednesday morning, Renato Cursi, of the Salesian Youth Ministry Department, made a contribution to the meaning of being a Christian today. In the afternoon the historic center of Vienna was the scene of small entertaining games. Participants visited typical monuments before attending Mass in St. Stephen's Cathedral, followed by a Marian procession to praise Mary during her festive commemoration.
On Thursday everyone was at the Don Bosco House in Vienna, where they were able to visit and see the center and the work being done. The input of Fr Patrick had participants meditate on faith within the Salesian Youth Movement. Heading towards Schönbrunn, reflection was heightened by traveling half the way in silence, and the other part with a companion so as to share their respective thoughts and meditations. Evening prayer continued with the adoration.
We feel particularly grateful for the experiences and friendships acquired; we will always keep a smile on our faces on remembering this week. The Salesian Youth Movement is alive in Europe and its groups are preparing to reap the fruits of the upcoming Synod of Bishops on "Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment."