"Young people are ready to explode in a fire created by the desire for a new life, to be able to know, see and touch the world with their own hands. Conditioned by the lobbyists for the tobacco, alcohol and sex industries, often even before their teenage years, their minds are burnt out. Often living in the streets or in squats, their heart is crying out for a friendly encounter with life. We want to walk alongside them, unchain them, free them to take hold that gift of existence, bringing it to the Good Father to transform it into a wonder. But we also want to unchain them so that, when they break the rules, it is to be on the side of the least, to become young people of peace and reconciliation and first and foremost out of a choice of love " Giovanni Ramonda
The Pope John XXIII Community owes its existence to young people. In its very first charter it states that it was set up as an association whose precise aim was “ensuring the religious and moral education of young people”. From then on it developed in different directions and contexts but young people have always the driving force propelling community life toward the friendly encounter with Jesus proposed by Father Benzi. A delightful proposal that attracted so many young people, in that, by sharing with the poor, giving ourselves to them, enables them to make real sense of their life.
The Service for Sharing with the Young is the practical encounter with Jesus in the experience of the sharing camps, each one a week spent with young people with disabilities, those who are suffering from loneliness, those “poor people next door” who every day pass by almost unnoticed. These camps provide a marvellous opportunity to spend an unforgettable holiday that is really something special.
Ever since 2000, the year of the great jubilee, there has been an ever increasing and more urgent call to “live a life of sharing with all those who are excluded” those poor people living on the streets, in institutions, in prisons, living on the margins, beyond the reach of churches, all of them excluded from any chance of wellbeing.
This gave rise to the camps for the excluded, campi fuorilemur@, literally “beyond the walls”, sharing with little children in Romania or in the peace village in Albania, in the desolate slums of Sicily or among the caravans of the gypsy camps in Rome and Bologna. These summer camps for young people all conclude with the Congrosso, the end-of-summer festival.
Members of the Service for Sharing with the Young take part in the national conference on the pastoral care of young people organised by the Italian Episcopal Council and also in other initiatives the Council organises during the year.