Belarus – The 23rd Salesian Youth Evangelization Pilgrimage

10 July 2024

(ANS – Budslau) – The 23rd Salesian Youth Evangelization Pilgrimage (SMEP for short) from Smarhon - Budslau took place from 30 June 30 to 6 July 6. The organizer of the pilgrimage was the Salesians of Don Bosco in Belarus. Young people from Salesian and other parishes all over Belarus took part in SMEP.

On the way to Budslau the pilgrims were accompanied by Salesian priests: the Provincial Delegate of the Salesian Society in Belarus - Fr Pavel Shcharbitsky SDB, responsible for the pilgrimage - Fr Aleh Karaliou SDB, Fr Mikhail Radevich SDB who was a spiritual retreatant this year, as well as Mikhail Vishneusky SDB.

During six days the youth covered 105 kilometres carrying their requests, thanks and intercessions to the Mother of God of Budslau. Walking along the road the pilgrims evangelized by their own example, singing, witnessing, talking and simply smiling the population of the towns and villages through which they passed. SMEP also stopped at every cross, church, every cemetery and monument to the victims of the Great Patriotic War to offer their prayers to the Almighty God and ask for blessings for the country and the people.

On the pilgrimage the participants also experienced some reflections. Fr Mikhail offered to reflect on the topic “Simply about what is important”. Each of the six days of the pilgrimage had its own theme: “I am valuable in God’s eyes”, “Looking at people positively”, “Don’t ask ‘why?’, but “what purpose?”, “Trust in the God’s Word”, “It is important to be sincere in front of God” and “Mary as an example of life”. During each conference Fr Mikhail shared with the pilgrims his own experience and opinion on the given topics, helped them better understand some meanings and suggested how it is possible to carry out certain religious and spiritual practice in everyday life.

These topics were also revealed during group work where pilgrims with the help of animators could discuss and share their thoughts on the topic of the day. In working groups young people, among other things, learned responsibility, respect for the older generation and one’s neighbor, a responsible attitude to environmental protection.

An important moment of evangelization in SMEP are fun evenings where residents of the towns where the pilgrimage stops were always invited. During a fun evening young people shared the wealth of their talents and also testify to their living faith and joy from a life based on a Christian foundation. This year, Fr Artur Liashneusky SDB together with a team of Salesian Cooperators from Smarhon helped to organize many fun evenings.

During the six days of the pilgrimage the youth received a great spiritual experience that will support everyone for a long time.

SMEP ended in Budslau where pilgrims from all parts of our country met to honor the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Budslau.

Vladyslav Zaretsky, SSCC


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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