The VMY Albania-Kosovo had their national meeting held last May 20-22, 2016 at the “Village of Peace”, Shkoder. Looking back at the main objective of why the VMY was created: reviving one´s commitment for Mary, strengthening the faith of the youth and drawing them close to Jesus Christ, these were the exact purpose of this meeting which also served as formation to the officers and members.
There were nine out of ten local groups of the VMY who participated in the meeting with a total of 94 participants.
To practice the spirituality of the VMY characterized by joy, prayer and celebration, each day started with morning prayers and ended with evening prayers and the celebration of the holy Eucharist celebrated by Father Arjan Ndoji.
Remembering that the main purpose of the meeting was to offer to the youth and teens a Christian Spiritual formation, in accordance with the request of Blessed Virgin of living a solid faith by following Jesus Christ, the selected topics were chosen to touch the reality of the youth and their needs that could help them in the future: “The Divine Mercy and Confession”, ”Forgiveness is good to us” and “The dignity of human body-Gospel and Sexuality”.
The first lecture was given by Father Adolfo Scandurra O.C.D. with the topic: “The Divine Mercy and Confession”. His talk emphasized about sin, why confession is a sacrament for us as sinners, and why we are called not to sin as children of God. Explaining in a simple way how ugly life is with sins, the speaker connected it with the Gospel on the Prodigal Son. Ending his talk, he challenged us to have confession and a spiritual conversation, and say to God "I am not ashamed in front of you, because you love me the way I am".
The second lecture was handled by Father Gianfranco Testa with the topic ”Forgiveness is good to us”. A seasoned priest who has always been in the service of the poor and the needy, he is a missionary of forgiveness with a 40-year experience. He shared with us his stories and his journeys in the hardest countries. An important point of his talk was that forgiveness is not only for countries who are at war and blood feud, forgiveness touches the stability of all of us. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, a personal step, a gift for ourselves and not for anyone, not even for the person who offended us. Forgiveness never forgets the past, but helps us to enlarge our futures. Forgiveness means to heal the wound inside of us. Forgiveness is a gift to “rebuild” one´s self. FORGIVENESS RESCUES US!
The 3 steps of forgiveness :
2. 2.The dream of Life and
After a short break, the third lecture was then presented by Don Lorenzzo Rosseti with the topic “The dignity of human body-Gospel and Sexuality”. This was started with a quote in the bible: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh". According to the speaker, sexuality is created by God Himself and it is a wonderful gift for his creatures. Sexuality is an interpersonal language showing that humans have sacred and inviolable values. The acts where the spouses join in pure intimacy, are moral and worthy. He also emphasized the virtue of Chastity and mentioned that Chastity is the “life” of sexuality fulfilled with interpersonal love. In his lecture he also had included the three forms of the virtue of Chastity : Marriage, Widow and Virginity, attached with a citation of St. Augustine: " We can’t glorify one of them by rejecting others. In this regard, the discipline of Church is very rich". He had separated the sexuality lived in a Christian way in two groups Paternity/Maternity and Virginity/Chastity. Paternity/Maternity is the top of the reciprocal donation between spouses, meanwhile Virginity proves the eternity and announces the resurrection .
The speaker then talked about “Contemporary love” and its three types: (1) Friendship (Philia) when we like to stay together, we have the same tastes , same opinions and we share secrets with each-other, (2) Intimate love (eros) when we fall in love with each-other, I want to have a family with you and have kids and (3) Christian Love (agape) when the love of Jesus forgives us and loves us. The third type of love is divine. There’s no real love between Christian spouses if this is not included. At the end of the session, Don Lorenzo gave a very important message to the youth : "Say no to sexual relationships before marriage because a sexual relationship is not a banal act ,but a noble and sacred act which includes Love, Union and The gift of Life".
After each lecture, the members are grouped to share their ideas and questions.
The last day was the day of Vincentian Education with the presentation of “The Document of the 4th General Assembly of VMY’’ relating it to the reality of the association in Albania-Kosovo. The topic "Evangelized, We Evangelize" was then an given as it was the same topic during the General Assembly. To be evangelized means to be a student in Jesus’ school and to sit at the same desk with the poor, meanwhile to evangelize means to be the conductor of the light of Gospel, to be a servant who embraces every poverty in name of Jesus Christ, a servant who sees the poor in Christ and Christ in the poor. Containing five dimensions: Spiritual Life, Formation, Apostolate and Evangelization, Vincentian Collaboration and The Preservation and the usage of goods, the session became an echo of the General Assembly held in Salamanca, Spain.
At the end of the session, Sister Lindita mentioned a citation of Pope Francis addressed to the Albanian youth during his visit in Albania: "Dear youth, you are the new generation of Albania. With the light of the Gospel and the example of the martyrs, say no to idolatry of money, no to false individualistic freedom, no to violence and yes to the culture of solidarity and meeting, yes to the beauty of good and truth, yes to life with big ideals, but loyal even with the little things. In this way, you will build a better country and a better world. An eagle never forgets her nest. You should fly high”.
For the first time in the history of our VMY Albania-Kosovo, two members of local groups VMY Rreshen and VMY Prishtine, Klotilda Biba and Prishila Marku participated in the meeting of the 4th General Assembly of VMY in Salamanca, Spain. They shared their experience to the other members, recalling how it was full of prayers, group workshops, sharing, group discussions and lots of fun moments. They also shared the election of the new International President and the four council members.
Before the end of this wonderful meeting , Klotilda Biba explained the logo of General Assembly of VMY and the logo of the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian Charisma.
The three-day ended with every one going home with joyful and faithful hearts.