International brotherhood and cooperation, towards a better world for all
The concern of our congregation is especially directed towards youth. Through education, but also through other forms of guidance, we want to help these young people find their way in the world of tomorrow. Since 2008, an international youth movement has been active around the brothers under the name ‘Ambassadors of a Worldwide Brotherhood’ (WWB). The objective of WWB is to bring together young people who want to dedicate themselves, from their own culture, to the worldwide movement of mercy and brotherhood. The movement grew into an international group of young people, accompanied by mostly young brothers, who also actively work for a better world in their own countries.
World Youth Days 2023
From 23 to 27 July 2023, after a period of preparations at home, an international group of ambassadors will gather at Emmaus retreat centre in Helvoirt, the Netherlands, for a programme of reflection and exchange. They will come from Indonesia, East Timor, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Brazil, and the Netherlands. They will then travel together to Lisbon to participate in the World Youth Days (WYD), from 1 to 6 August 2023. On the return trip to the Netherlands, the group will visit Lourdes in France, followed by a concluding programme of several days at Sparrenhof in Tilburg.
Participation in the World Youth Days is not the final goal of the group of ambassadors. After the World Youth Days, these young people continue their journey: in their own country and in everyday life, as ambassadors of mercy and brotherhood, keywords of the spirituality of the Congregation. Ever since WWB was founded, we have seen all kinds of initiatives arise in the various countries where WWB is active, sometimes prompted by assignments within the local preliminary programs organised by the Congregation, but also on the initiative of the ambassadors themselves.
Clean-up action in Timor-Leste
Ambassadors in Timor-Leste recently held a clean-up operation in one of the capital’s most famous tourist attractions, the Cristo Rei area of Dili. The place is plagued by litter, which worries the group. The clean-up action was also meant to show other people how to deal with their waste in a better way.
Clean-up action by the ambassadors in Timor-Leste.
Planting mangrove trees in Indonesia
Ambassadors from Langgur, Indonesia decided this spring to plant mangrove trees near the coastline. In a mangrove forest, they looked for seedlings to plant out at the coastline. They planted nearly 100 trees. The mangrove trees at the coastline protect the land from water erosion, they help maintain the ocean ecosystem, and protect the coastal community from large waves.
Collecting mangrove seedlings.
Visiting the sick in Kenya
In February 2023, a group of Kenyan ambassadors visited the sick in the local hospital. They sang songs and together with the patients they prayed for speedy recovery. The joy of the people they visited encouraged them to do this more often. Interacting with them also made them more appreciative and attentive to their own health.
Ambassadors in Kenya.
Charity in Tanzania
In March this year, the ambassadors in Tanzania visited some needy families. Two were families with old sick people in Kaliua and one was a family with lepers in Tabora. The group raised money and collected materials such as clothes and other household necessities like cooking oil, maize flour, rice and soap, which they handed over to the families.
Ambassadors from Tanzania visiting a family in Tabora.
Taizé prayer in Brazil
The ambassadors in Brazil meet regularly. For example, for an evening prayer with a simple, meditative form of worship that calls them to dwell on the presence of Christ all around and within us.
Taizé prayer in Brazil, with Brother Rosario de Jesus Martins behind the keyboard, and alongside Brother Paul Damen, member of the General Board, who was on a working visit to Brazil in February this year.
Walk with Christ in Namibia
In Namibia, the ambassadors have become pioneers of religious education and youth activities in their country. For example, in 2009 they organised the first ‘Walk with Christ’, a pilgrimage from the parishes of Windhoek to the Clarist monastery in Braakwater, which has been held every year since.
Photo collage Walk with Christ in Namibia.