In July and August 2023, Ambassadors of a Worldwide Brotherhood (WWB) from several countries came together for an international meeting. Together they participated in the World Youth Days in Lisbon, Portugal. A testimony of Maria Corte-Real da Silva from Timor-Leste:
Participating in World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon 2023 granted me the extraordinary privilege of being a pilgrim. Remarkably, the experience went beyond my expectations. Admittedly, I might assert that joining WYD wasn’t solely my own volition. At that critical juncture when the decision loomed, I found myself entangled in numerous essential activities that demanded my attention and focus. Nevertheless, amid these struggles and uncertainties, God revealed His will and path to me. This revelation aimed to bear witness to and magnify the goodness that has graced my entire life journey, so that I might share it with others.
This epiphany arrived swiftly, prompting me to wholeheartedly surrender myself to His divine will with profound love. It became evident that the various life situations I had encountered were not mere accidents or instantaneous occurrences. Each held a distinct purpose and meaning. Personally, this pilgrimage marked a pivotal juncture of change; it reshaped my thought processes, transformed my interpretations, and initiated a shift in my perceptions. Consequently, I grew aware of the profound roles that time, space, and people play in shaping our existence. While individual study has its merits, I came to recognize that these three fundamental elements stand as the paramount avenues for human learning throughout history.
The central theme of World Youth Day unequivocally revolves around the notion of an encounter—a global convergence of young individuals gathering to deepen their faith. This event provides a platform to embrace the universality of the Catholic Church, leading these individuals to commit their lives to Christ alongside hundreds of thousands from diverse countries, cultures, and contexts. Navigating this multifaceted environment necessitates unwavering commitment and perseverance in fostering understanding amongst each other. After all, every individual is integral to the mystery of redemption, and it’s through this enigma that Christ has become eternally intertwined with each one of us.
While undoubtedly a spiritually transformative event, WYD also serves as a splendid occasion for the exchange of ideas among the youth. By melding modern festivals and cultural expressions, the event takes on a dynamic and vibrant character. This encounter encompasses a multitude of faith-related sessions and seminars that impart invaluable knowledge. Essentially, it empowers young people to actively engage as protagonists in their spiritual journeys. This gathering offers them an avenue to nurture their spiritual lives, broaden their horizons, and unite in jubilation under the banner of Jesus.
Echoing the sentiments of Pope Francis in his August 5, 2023, reflection, the Holy Father urges us to “ride the waves of kindness and become surfers of love.” This sentiment deeply resonates, encapsulating the opportunity each of us seeks—to become ambassadors of love through every interaction.
In conclusion, I’m profoundly grateful to God for the multifaceted experiences that unfolded during this pilgrimage—blessings and joys that transcended all expectations. My gratitude extends to the CMM brothers for facilitating this transformative journey, extending their hospitality, and imparting invaluable lessons. The enduring impact of this journey finds resonance in the words of Pope John Paul II during his mass celebration in Timor-Leste on October 12, 1989. He proclaimed the Timorese youth to be the “salt of the earth and light of the world.” Though time has passed, the potency of this declaration remains palpable and profound. With hope, the insights and inspirations garnered from this pilgrimage will continue to illuminate my spiritual path, fostering self-awareness and allowing me to mirror Christ’s exemplary love as an ambassador of goodwill.
Maria Corte-Real da Silva, Ambassador WWB Timor-Leste