Pope Francis says "...the crucifix that you wear around your neck, as a sign of election and of the call to be disciples of Jesus everywhere." to Shalom Community

Addressing some 1000 young people of the “Shalom” Catholic Community in the Vatican, Pope Francis encourages them to keep their missionary charism alive as they celebrate the 40th anniversary of their Brazilian-born movement that aims to evangelize the young, by the young. (Vatican News excerpt)
Paul VI Hall
Monday, September 26, 2022
FULL TEXT of Pope Francis' Speech:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I thank Moysés and Maria for their introduction, and I thank you who have given your testimonies. I will try to answer the questions you asked me; they have arrived. I greet Cardinal Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and Cardinal Scherer, so humble; he came to accompany us. Thank you.
First of all, I would like to underline something we heard from Moysés. He said that the Shalom Community was born forty years ago during a Eucharistic celebration, at the time of the offertory. This is important! It was not born "at the table", with a nice plan designed by him or someone else. It was born in prayer, in the Liturgy. The episode in the Acts of the Apostles comes to mind - in due proportion - when Paul and Barnabas are sent on mission: it takes place during a community prayer in which the Holy Spirit asks to reserve two of them for the mission to the pagans (cf. Acts 13 , 1-3). It is the Holy Spirit who makes the Church live - let us not forget this - who drives it forward. And this he does above all in prayer, especially in the Liturgy. The Liturgy is not a beautiful ceremony, a ritual in which our gestures or, worse, our clothes are at the center, no! The Liturgy is God's action with us, and we must be attentive to him: to him who speaks, to him who acts, to him who calls, to him who sends ... And this is not out of time and history, no, within the historical reality, within the situations. Thank you, Moysés, because your experience reminds us of this.
And now I take up the questions again. You, Fabiola, asked me how to persevere in friendship with God in a hectic world, and how to "infect" this experience in living environments. I would say: let's remember the verb that the evangelist John repeats so many times: "remain". "Abide in me" - says Jesus, "abide in my love" (15.4.9). "Stay". If we remain united to Christ like branches to the vine, we persevere and also “infect”. First of all, if we remain in him with prayer, listening to the Word, adoration, the Rosary, then the lymph of the Holy Spirit passes from him to us and we can persevere. But we can also "infect", let us not doubt! He promised it: whoever remains in him bears much fruit, says the Lord (cf. Jn 15: 5). The fruit is love, and it is the love of Christ that touches people's hearts, wherever we are, in every environment. We have the commitment to remain in him, the rest is done by the Holy Spirit. He is the protagonist, not us: it is He. Do not forget this. The Holy Spirit is always the protagonist of the growth of the Church; also of the growth of my soul.
Bertrand, you testified that you were struck by the youthful style of the first meeting with the "Shalom" community, and you asked how it is possible to keep this spirit alive, and also what is the importance of the leadership of young people in the Church. Listen, to keep a young spirit, one must remain open to the Holy Spirit: it is He who renews hearts, renews life, renews the Church, renews the world. We are not talking about physical youth, but about youth of spirit, the one that shines through in the eyes of some old people more than in those of some young people! It is not a question of registry office. And then another thing, as Saint John Paul II said in WYD of 2000, "whoever is with young people remains young" (cf. Vigil in Tor Vergata). If an old man isolates himself, he avoids the young, he gets older earlier. Instead, it is beautiful and enriching to be with children for a while, with adolescents, with young people; not to "copy" them - this is ridiculous -, not to preach, but to listen to them, talk to them, tell some experiences ... And with regard to protagonism, I would say two things. The first is the protagonism of holiness. I am thinking of Carlo Acutis, as a recent example; but first to Piergiorgio Frassati, first to Gabriele dell'Addolorata, to Therese of the Child Jesus, to Francis and Clare of Assisi, who were young, and so on up to the first and perfect disciple: Mary of Nazareth - young - who it was a girl when she said "here I am". All these have built the Church and still build it with their witness, corresponding to the grace of God. Second aspect: as pastors, towards the young, we must learn not to be paternalists. Sometimes we involve young people in pastoral initiatives, but not completely. We risk "using" them a little, to make a good impression. But I ask myself: do we really listen to them? Thanks Bertrand.
And you, Dilma, witnessed the joy of friendship with the poorest brothers and sisters. And you ask how we can cultivate this friendship, and make others taste it too. I'll give you just one example: a young nun, unknown at that time, answered the call of God who told her to stay close to the least of Calcutta. She was called Sister Teresa. Where did she find the strength to go to the streets every day to collect the dying? She found her in her Lord of her Jesus of her, whom she received every morning and adored her and He said to her: “I thirst”. And then she went out and recognized him in the faces of those abandoned people. And we know what happened: first some, then dozens, then hundreds of young women followed her example, and others join as volunteers. Nearby, a hundred meters from where we are now, there is a house, called "Gift of Mary", where the Missionaries of Charity welcome some people. I leave you this as an answer and as a provocation.
And finally Madalena and Jacqueline, you have brought us the charm of the first hour. Your question concerns the present and future path of the “Shalom” Community. And therefore it requires a somewhat lengthy response, which is addressed to everyone.
Your community is characterized from the outset by creative courage, acceptance and a great missionary drive. Courageous. At that time Moysés was a young man; now poor man is old man, old man. These distinctive traits are still found today in the initiatives that you carry out in various countries, that is, creative courage, hospitality, missionary enthusiasm. This work that you bring to various countries has given life, over the years, to an ecclesial reality that now includes not only young people, but also families, celibates committed to the mission, priests. Many things. I bless the Lord with you for this and I say to you: with the grace of God keep alive these gifts, creative courage, hospitality and missionary enthusiasm. Please: don't go to the museum, no! You are not museum people, but who walk with creative courage, with hospitality and with missionary enthusiasm. Thank you.
Your name is "Shalom". This word is not a slogan, it comes from the Gospel, it comes from the lips and heart of the Risen Jesus, who appearing to the disciples in the Upper Room said: "Peace be with you!" (Jn 20,19.21.26). This is "Shalom", peace to you. That peace of heart that you have received from your personal encounter with the risen Jesus and from the experience of his infinite love for him. This peace has reconciled you with God, with yourselves, with others and now you try to transmit it to all the people you meet. The word "Shalom" is also engraved in the "Tau", the crucifix that you wear around your neck, as a sign of election and of the call to be disciples of Jesus everywhere.
And in your name there is also the word "Catholic". Yours is a Catholic community. It is the name of our Mother Church! Cattolica: why? And you were born in her womb. You have valued the gifts and vivacity of which the Church in Brazil is rich. You have made use of the current of grace coming from the Charismatic Renewal, which has also nourished your charism. You have put the Eucharistic celebration, Adoration, Confession at the center. You have valued preaching, music, individual and community contemplative prayer. This is truly the "Catholic" wealth and the inexhaustible wealth that is found in the Church and from which we must always draw. And when you say "Catholic", you say this.
Your community is Catholic also because it has always walked side by side with the pastors of the Church. It was the then Archbishop of Fortaleza, Don Aloisio Lorscheider, who suggested to Moysés to offer something to Saint John Paul II, representing all young people. And the Holy Spirit inspired Moysés to offer the same life as him. It was Mons. Lorscheider himself, a Franciscan, who guided the spiritual identity of the young community by recommending the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila. Saint Francis and Saint Teresa are the inspirers of your spiritual journey. Many other pastors have helped and supported you. Always keep this spirit of filial obedience, affection and closeness to your shepherds. This is very important. Do not go away from the shepherds. Where the shepherd is, there is Jesus. Indeed, we as Jesus' shepherds.
Dear friends, in these forty years of your history the physiognomy of the community has been outlined - there are the essential, constitutive traits - but it is a process not yet concluded. Your founder is still at your guide and you are therefore still in a "foundational" phase. I urge you to remain docile to the action of the Spirit, open to mutual listening and to the guidelines of the Church, in order to best discern how to continue on your journey.
As I mentioned earlier, your community is born from an act of self-offering. This is a grace, because it has aroused and still arouses in many young people the desire for an equal donation. But it is also an invitation to responsibility and prudence. Indeed, the proposal of self-offering, without renouncing to show the beauty of the vocation to discipleship, must know how to respect people's freedom, know how to wait for the different times of growth of each one and accompany with delicacy and discernment in the choice of the state of life. to embrace and in the choice of community life. Docility to the Holy Spirit, experience and listening to the Mother Church will teach you to always avoid any form of interference in your personal conscience; they will teach you to ensure that the various forms of common life within you always protect the right autonomy and the needs of the various vocations: of priests, of the married and of those who have made a choice of celibacy for the mission.
Dear sisters and dear brothers, we thank God for what you are and for what you do. Your charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, to the Church of today. We bless the Lord for the many young people who attend your groups, for the families that have been formed, for the many vocations and conversions, for the support you give to many parishes, for all the apostolate you do in the most diverse environments.
And you have come to Rome to renew the offer of your life and to renew, before the Successor of Peter, that founding act that was carried out forty years ago by your founder. May St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Jesus accompany you on your journey. May the Virgin Mary, model of every donation to the Lord, keep within you the spirit of trust and abandonment to the Father and help you to persevere in your choice. May the Lord welcome the gift of your life, may the Lord sustain you with his grace; alone you can do nothing. I cordially bless you and, please, I ask you to pray for me. Thank you.
Source: Vatican.va