Belarus – Useful leisure time in Salesian style: Don Bosco Youth Fest

31 May 2019

(ANS – Smorgon) – From 24 to 26 May, the Don Bosco Youth Fest took place in the parish of St. Michael’s Smorgon - youth days in the Salesian style. More than 120 participants of the festival began arriving to Smorgon on Friday evening. At the door of the oratory they were met by organizers and registered, some photos taken. Formally, the Don Bosco Youth Fest started with the Holy Mass led by Alexander Yashevsky, SDB, secondary Bishop of Minsk-Mogilev archdiocese, with a special service for the city of Mogilev and Mogilev region.

For three days during the sermons Bishop Alexander and regional rector of Salesian society in Belarus Viktor Haydukevich SDB, who served the Holy Eucharist on Saturday, discussed the topic, in tune with the motto of the Salesian family for this year: "Holiness is for you, too!"

On 24 May, at the feast of Mary Help of Christians, Bishop Alexander meditated on Mary and her three main virtues, which can help us in the journey to holiness today: faith, ability to listen to God and ability to constantly meditate on what God says.

The next day, Fr Victor drew attention to the fact that Jesus was in the center of each history of holiness. Each of the saints had their weaknesses, character traits, but because of Jesus, whom they put above all else, holiness became possible.

On the main Mass on the last day of the feast, Bishop Alexander meditated on the role of love in the holiness of every man and woman. The whole Gospel is permeated with the theme of love. It’s the most important thing which Jesus wanted to teach us because He is an example of the immeasurable love.

The theme of holiness and the path to it was also touched upon during the evening of praise to the Lord on the second feast day. Local youth, with Deacon Arthur Lyashnevsky SDB, prepared touching sketches of young saints’ lives and their way to heaven - difficult but possible. Thanks to the acting talent of the young participants of the Don Bosco Youth Fest, youngsters had the opportunity to get to know better such saints as Stephen Sandor, Alexandrina Maria Da Costa, Albert Marvelli and servant of God Teresa Walse Pantellini.

It should be noted that on 24 May a very beautiful tradition was founded in Smorgon - a festive procession in honor of Mary our Help walking the streets of the city. Believers, together with the participants of Don Bosco Youth Fest, walked the city streets praying the rosary and at the same time showing their faith to the local people. From that day on. the procession shall take place annually.

A practical part was also prepared for the participants, in addition to the prayer one. Thanks to debates, discussions and consultations of experienced specialists, young people found answers to worrying questions. This year during the practical work young people pondered a question of gender equality, learned to organize their time, to deal with chronic fatigue, reflected on how take care of special children, raised questions about the Internet and social networking addiction, spoke about the relationship between people and communication, and also had an opportunity to attend a workshop on Catholic singing.

On 25 May, young people had the opportunity to reflect on these issues on their own while working in the "World Café", and on Sunday, 26 May, workshops on these topics took place under the guidance of experts.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to the cultural and entertainment programme. Within different groups young people were able to make their acquaintance with the sights and interesting historical places of Smorgon region, to play paintball, to ride a bike, to test their abilities, passing through tourist obstacle courses in the forest, as well as to explore the Viliya River on canoes and boats.

Don Bosco Youth Fest concluded with a summarizing and words of appreciation from Victor Haidukevich SDB on Sunday.

These three days were wonderful, intensive and very useful and helped young people realize that holiness is not something unreal; holiness is the fruit of a daily work together with Jesus and Mary, work full of love and dedication.

Photos from Don Bosco Youth Fest are available on the site  on the social network VKontakte, as well as in Instagram under the hashtag #Bosco_Fest.


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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