Be the change

Be the change

Together for Europe at the ecumenical Festival for young people in Timisoara, Romania, 1 – 7 May 2023

“Tonight, a dream of mine has come true. You brought with you the message of peace to Timisoara.” This is what the Roman Catholic Bishop of Timisoara, József-Csaba Pál, movingly stated to the 300 young people gathered in the Banatul Philharmonic after the concert of the Gen Verde International Ensemble on the final evening of the Ecumenical Youth Festival. Romania, a land so battered by dictatorship and communism in the past, welcomes the message of Christian love in Timisoara with an open heart as a response to today’s challenges.

‘Walking all together in the light of Christ’

Young people aged 14 to 25 had come from all over Romania and, among others, from Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine and Poland to celebrate in Timisoara, one of the cultural capitals of Europe in 2023. For the week from 1 to 7 May 2023, the young people had chosen the title ‘Walking all together in the light of Christ’. One of the highlights of the festival was the ecumenical procession with candles – also attended by the citizens of Timisoara – to four churches of various denominations (Greek-Catholic, Reformed, Orthodox and Roman-Catholic) in the centre of Timisoara. A Ukrainian Orthodox girl affirmed: “I never experienced such a wide dimension of Church”.

Workshop ‘Seek God in the City’

Be the change… be the change you want to see around you. This was the invitation to the young people that linked all the cultural and musical exchanges, short lectures and discussions. As part of the official festival programme – in agreement with the local young people – Together for Europe (TfE) offered the workshop ‘Seek God in the City’, that is, how to change the secular city into a ‘city of God’. The speakers, Hans-Martin Samietz (Schönstatt Movement) and Herbert Lauenroth (Focolare Movement) from the TfE Steering Committee proposed various approaches as to how the Word of God can inspire change and penetrate people’s lives on a spiritual, social, cultural, intellectual and political level. The 100 young people present at the workshop exchanged their ideas on how to build the ideal city, e.g. by listening more to each other, praying together and a communication that points to the positive and therefore  – why not? – with ideas for making a film showing the city ‘of my dreams’. A common element in all participants was the yearning for peace that begins in the heart of each one.

Download the programme>>

Meeting ‘Friends of TfE in Timisoara  

Now Together for Europe is preparing for the ‘Friends’ meeting scheduled for 16 to 18 November 2023 in Timisoara. The city is optimal for the ideals of TfE because of its ecumenical and cultural openness. This was experienced during the Ecumenical Youth Festival in May 2023.

Beatriz Lauenroth


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